ELEVEN public toilets could close if Kirklees councillors vote in favour next week.
Cabinet members will consider closing the unattended public loos – unless a community group offers to run them.
The threatened toilets are in Westbourne Road in Marsh, Morley Lane in Milnsbridge, Carr Lane in Slaithwaite, Peel Street in Marsden, Holme Village, Moorbottom in Honley and Holmfirth Road in New Mill. Unattended toilets at the Market Place in Batley centre, Market Street in Birstall, Station Road in Mirfield and Oldfield Lane at Heckmondwike Market Place are also part of the closure plans.
However Clr David Sheard, Cabinet member for Resources, said he would still work with anyone interested in taking over the running of them.
“I can understand the objections, but if people look at the cost of them and how few people use them they’ll understand why we’re doing it. It’s a huge subsidy, he said.
“If groups want to take over, we will listen and co-operate. There’s been a few areas show an interest and that idea is not going away just because we’re making this decision.”
The idea was first mooted earlier this year and went out to public consultation. A decision was deferred while the council liaised with interested parties and sought feedback.
The total budget for unattended toilets was £151,000, which has been withdrawn. Funding was found to keep them running but that has been exhausted and a one-off grant has kept them open until now. No jobs will be lost and employees will be reassigned.
A council survey shows the toilets’ usage, conducted on weekday and weekends in April, May and June last year. Those with the highest usage were in Batley with 226 people using them on a May day. The lowest was at Milnsbridge, where nine people used them on a Saturday in June. Figures show 914 people used all 11 toilets during the survey days.
Clr Andrew Marchington, whose Golcar ward covers Milnsbridge, said: “We think they only should be closed where suitable alternatives can be found. In Milnsbridge there is nowhere else.”
Asked if there was hope of saving them, Clr Marchington added: “I think they’ve made the decision already. What concerns me is the lack of creative thinking. In Milnsbridge for example can public toilets be found in new developments?”
Cabinet will be asked to consider three options: close them and sell the assets; close them but keep the buildings until April 2013 to allow time for offers; or close them and delay the sale for 12 months where an interest has been shown (Birstall, Mirfield, Holme Village, Honley and New Mill).
Three attended facilities in Holmfirth (Towngate), Huddersfield (Albion Street) and Dewsbury (Long Causeway) will remain open.
A decision will be made at 4pm, Wednesday, December 19 at the town hall Cabinet meeting.