Businesses helping shoppers spend a penny 'good for trade' - with poll
BUSINESSES should be ready to step in to help if the final public toilets in Amber Valley are closed, one tradeswoman has said.
Sarah Acikgoz,who runs community website www.iamthebestof.co.uk/heanor-and-ripley said if traders opened up their toilets for public use it could be good for the local economy.
The 40-year-old said: "It's a good idea to close the toilets if the council won't maintain them. The ones in Heanor were disgusting last week, totally unusable.
"If the council won't keep them in good enough condition to use, then let's close them, convert them into better use, maybe information booths for what's happening in the town, and pay the local businesses a sensible amount to open up their toilets to the public.
"It might also win them more custom as people go into the shops to use the facilities and they may be tempted to buy something whilst they are in there."
The public toilets in Heanor Market Square are set to close on March 31 next year and no alternatives have been found.
Amy Marshall, 29, from Heanor said: "The council really shouldn't close them as when you need to go there will be know where to go.
"I feel that the toilets should be cleaned better and have some sort of area to change a baby. I find Heanor toilets dirty and in need of a blooming good clean."
Four of the 14 toilets in Amber Valley have already been closed under cost-cutting measures. Amber Valley Borough Council has tried to organise alternatives, paying businesses up to £600 a year to allow the public to use their toilets. But that has only been found in six towns.
And despite this, a meeting tonight will hear recommendations from council officers that the remaining ten public toilets in Amber Valley should close. The report says some toilets are used so little, each visit is costing the council the equivalent of £5.
Trev Middleton, who worked on Heanor markets for 10 years, said: "I know what it's like when you've been standing on that market place for three or four hours on a freezing cold morning, when you've had a few mugs of tea.
"I've no doubt, in fact I know from experience, that any shopkeeper will take a sympathetic view of a market-trader with a bladder full to bursting, but it's so much better if there's somewhere within a few strides to go."
Councillor for Heanor West Bob Janes said public toilets could be a nightmare.
He said: "Looking after them inevitably becomes an issue, but they are a pretty essential public facility and they are done really well in other places."
POLL: Have your say on our quick, anonymous poll (above right)