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Spend £100,000 to spend a penny! Cost to reopen park toilets rises

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THEtown council’s budget to reopen the public toilets on Bath Road has risen from £40,000 to a potential £100,000.

An inspection of the toilet block, which is located next to the skate park in King George V playing field, has identified that the cost of refurbishing the three cubicles would be significantly more than the council’s original £40,000 budget.

According to the inspection, the cost of bringing the whole block of three cubicles, plus a men’s urinal, back into use would be £100,000, plus VAT.

The original £40,000 budget will be boosted by £20,000, which had been earmarked for the running costs of the Bath Road toilets had they been opened this financial year; and £40,000 from the council’s major projects fund – bringing the budget to a new ‘realistic’ total of £100,000.

The council intends to put the contract for the refurbishment or rebuild of the toilet block out to tender early this year.

“This is a potential spend,” explained mayor cllr Jon Hubbard at last month’s town council asset management committee meeting, “and we don’t have to spend all of it.”

The town council originally announced their intention to reopen the town’s closed public toilets on Bath Road and Church Street in November 2018, following an announcement in the Government’s Budget that councils would no longer have to pay business rates on public toilets. However, due to the proroguing of  the 2017-2019 session of Parliament last year, the proposed Bill has been dropped.

The council prioritised the reopening of the Bath Road toilets, pledging to reopen them ‘as soon as possible’.

The public toilets on Bath Road and Church Street have been closed since April 2016, after Wiltshire Council withdrew funding for their upkeep. 

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.

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