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Popular public toilets near Ilkley visitor attractions under threat
The future of public toilets at one of Ilkley’s most popular moorland visitor attractions hangs in the balance as efforts go on district-wide to save other facilities.
Toilets at White Wells Spa Cottage, and at Sugar Hill, Addingham - both on popular walking routes - are earmarked for closure as part of Bradford Council cutbacks. Town and parish councils are being urged to take over many public toilets in the district.
And Bradford Council has warned many could close if this is not possible.
The toilet block at Ilkley’s South Hawksworth Street car park is safe, and toilets at Ilkley Riverside were removed from the closure list following public comments on facilities in tourism areas, along with public toilets in Haworth.
But no such assurances have been made about White Wells.
Ilkley Parish Council chairman, Mike Gibbons, said the parish council would discuss the issue, but pointed out White Wells toilets are also much-needed tourist facilities.
He said: “I note with interest the suggestion that the parish and town councils should consider funding of small lavatory facilities, but I would suggest that, as we pay considerable sums in Counil Tax, that this could amount to double rating.
“People are attracted to Ilkley by advertising and promotion from the District Council, Ilkley being often quoted as the jewel in the crown of the Bradford District, and the big question I want to ask is, is why ask people to come to Ilkley as tourists and walkers and not provide them with even the most basic facilities?”
Talks are already underway in Addingham and Silsden about the possibility of two local councils stepping in with a solution for the future of public toilets in both villages.
Bradford Council’s Interim Strategic Director for Environment and Sport, Steve Hartley, said: “We understand deeply felt concerns about this issue but it is one of the many difficult choices that we have had to make to find £115 million in savings over the next three years as a result of national cuts in Council funding.”
He added: “We hope that parish or town councils can consider taking over public toilets in other parts of the district but if this is not possible, they will no longer be available.
“We are also looking at ways that toilets in civic and other public buildings can be made more accessible to the public.”