LETTER: Loss of public toilets is a blow to tourism

I READ with interest the reply by Coun. Robert Thompson to letters condemning the loss of our public toilets.

It appears he does not seem to grasp the issue here. Just a few weeks ago we were informed Ribble Valley Council had entered into a relationship with several businesses in which the public could use their toilets without needing to patronise the business in question.

What they were actually doing was creating a positive feel to an arrangement which, in few short weeks, was going to be a very negative decision. Tony Blair’s spin doctors had nothing on this committee.

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Coun. Thompson has not acknowledged that these extra facilities will only be open during business hours and has not told us where the street signs are indicating their location. Are we to knock on every door until we find one in the scheme?

I have mentioned the Torchlight, where toilets will be much in demand at night. There are also other similar events where these are needed, such as the Santa Dash and Cycle Road Race, if it ever comes back to Clitheroe. Perhaps not if there are no toilet facilities for the thousands who stood to watch it. We are supposed to be promoting tourism, but cutting facilities is not the way to do it.

I have been told of a visitor to town whose four-year-old daughter was in tears needing the toilet urgently and could not find one. He had taken her to a charity shop but been turned away with the excuse they could not let any public use them for “Health and Safety” reasons. This man ran off with her vowing never to visit Clitheroe again.

I also believe the toilets in Gisburn are to go. I do not know on what grounds the closures are made, but these are toilets which have a very high usage. They are used by lorry and bus drivers and farmers with trailers, car drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists. How is the 77 Garage, which is down as the alternative, going to cope with articulated lorries and coaches parked up on the A59? Are we cyclists gong to risk our lives cycling along the A59 as well? Perhaps we are expected to use the laybys and stand there on public display like our European neighbours.

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If the council cannot find a more satisfactory way of reducing costs I fear for the future, and our respect of the Ribble Valley Council. It is not as though they are going to save much by removing our basic rights in this way since their cost is just a miniscule fraction of the budget.

Coun. Thompson reminds us the Ribble Valley maintains the lowest level of Council Tax in Lancashire and we applaud them for having less waste than other councils, but do not replace our toilets with a far inferior system, which denies us our human rights and dignity.