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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Potential buyer for toilets

TALKS are under way which could bring an end to nine months of public inconvenience.

50029467B000
FRUSTRATED: South Copeland Disability Group members Noel Moore, left, and Gary Jackson who want the public toilets at Lancashire Road, in Millom, reopened JON GRANGER REF: 50029467B000

In April last year, Copeland Borough Council closed public toilets in Lancashire Road, Millom, after the town council was forced to return the lease.

Copeland Borough Council has now revealed it is in advanced talks with a potential buyer, though the council said it is unable to guarantee the toilet block will be retained in its current form.

The closure has attracted a great deal of controversy and South Copeland Disability Group mounted a campaign in a bid to convince Tesco to take on the toilets.

Tesco has since revealed talks with the council collapsed after the two organisations were unable to agree terms.

In a letter from the chief executive’s office, Tesco said: “We were made aware of the situation regarding the public convenience in Millom and the possible closure in July.

“At this time we had discussions with the council about the possibility of adopting the facility, however these discussions were never finalised as there were issues over ownership, rates and the water supply to the toilets.”

Last year Copeland Borough Council put the toilets up for sale by sealed bids but the building remained unsold after the council said no bids submitted met the anticipated price.

Gary Jackson, chairman of South Copeland Disability Group, said: “We’re concerned that although Tesco were interested in adopting the toilets there appears to have been issues with regard to ownership, rates and water supply to the toilets.

“The response indicates that, although Tesco were interested in adopting the facility, there were clearly issues with regard to conditions that Copeland Borough Councils were seeking at that time, which frustrated the discussions.

“We’re surprised and frustrated at the decision given the facilities have closed and we feel Copeland should at least explain to the town why this opportunity slipped through their fingers.”

Members of Millom Town Council last year also announced they would be handing back the lease for the neighbouring car park in Lancashire Road. Copeland Borough Council said it is considering its options for the site.

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