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MELKSHAM Town Council has pledged to reopen the town’s closed public toilets.
Following the announcement in the Government’s Budget that councils will no longer have to pay business rates on public toilets, the town council intend to ask Wiltshire Council for the leases for the toilets on Church Street and Bath Road, and reopen them as soon as possible.
The public toilets have been closed since April 2016, after Wiltshire Council withdrew funding for their upkeep and the town council decided it could not afford to take them on. Last months, at the town council’s asset management meeting, cllr Mike Sankey said, “My proposal is that we contact Wiltshire Council with a view to taking on the leases, for both the Bath Road and the Church Street toilets, and when those are in place, we open them as soon as possible – subject to business rates being removed by the Government.”
Mayor, cllr Adrienne Westbrook explained, “The business rates on the one on Bath Road was outrageous – it was £15,000 – and that’s the only reason we ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about taking them on. But if the business rates are going, I have absolutely no problem with supporting this.”
In agreement, cllr Hayley Spencer-Illman said, “It has been made clear by the town that this is a loss of facilities that is very sorely missed and we need to find a way to make this happen.
“Subject to the business rates relief, it is a fantastic move for us as a council to show that we are delivering for our town, where Wiltshire Council is not.”
Currently, the town centre’s only toilet block open to the public is in the Market Place. They are owned by the town council and joint-funded with Melksham Without Parish Council.