A Letter from Nantwich                                         

May 2011

Toilets that are open 

A most inconvenient move

closed toilets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The public toilets on Barony Road - but don't build your hopes up.  They're closed. The Tarmac area going round them is the Greenway for pedestrians and cyclists.

 

UPDATE (May 5, 2012): WHEN Nantwich Town Council took over the running of the Civic Hall at the beginning of May it was said that the public toilets would follow. A number of other belonging to Cheshire East Council - with the indoor and outdoor markets; public toilets at the market, Barony Park and the Snow Hill car park; and allotments - would follow. The reported cost of this will be £67 a year for each household in Nantwich.

 

UPDATE (May 2013). The Barony Road toilets and those on the Civic Hall car park (below) are not to re-open as toilets. They will be used for storage. The "public toilet closed" sign (below) is no longer there - just a sign misleading saying "Urinal" and a board listing what is (er, was) inside. See this page for the Town Council's assets acquisitions 

 

IT IS the last thing you want to see as you approach a town on a journey or a holiday - a sign that tells you the public conveniences you have finally found are closed. But that is the fate awaiting cross-legged motorists and their passengers in Barony Road on the edge of Nantwich (above) or the facilities on the Civic Hall car park.

    I often walk along Barony Road on a stroll, but I have only just noticed the sign (right) that must send travellers into a panic. That, and the fact that, previously, they would still be denied the relief they sought if they didn't have a 20p coin or two. Yes, it costs 20 pence to spend a penny nowadays. Is that 20p per person or can the full car load use the ladies' and gents' facilities for two 20p coins?

    The toilets were two of only four conveniences in Nantwich. At the toilets on the Civic Hall car park boarded up(left) - the next nearest toilets - the notice on one of the doors is blank - washed clean by the rain? - but the boarded-up doors and windows say it all. 

    The toilets at the top of this page are the ones I feared might be lost with the arrival of the Greenway - a pedestrians and cyclists pathway linking Crewe and Nantwich. When the Greenway was laid so that it snaked round the building, I assumed it had been saved. I have it on good authority that the toilets are automatic and are now past their best.

 I spoke to - well e-mailed - Caroline Griffies, Senior Streetscape Officer of Cheshire East Council, who is responsible for cleansing and street cleaning. She told me: "The automatic units had reached the end of their useful life and there were not the funds available for suitable replacements."

    Giving his personal view and not speaking for the Town Council, the then Town Clerk (Mr Riddell Graham) told me: "Both the closed toilets were Healthmatic, self cleaning, automatic, cubicle types and were well past their sell-by date, so I doubt if the Town Council would have kept them on even if Cheshire East Council had offered them to the council. I personally think public toilets are a mark of a civilised           

 

 

closed sign

community and I know there have been complaints

about the closure of The Barony toilets in particular. However, that is my own view and whether the Town Council pick up the bill for public toilets depends on what townsfolk think and what councillors decide."

    He added: "Supposedly, Cheshire East Council are going to sell the two closed buildings but one wonders who would buy them."

   Caroline Griffies, referring to the two closed toilets, said: "I am unaware of any specific plans for either The Barony or Civic car park toilet blocks."

 

A HANDY map (right) which is to be seen on a door of the Barony Road toilets tells would-be users where the nearest working toilets are - the best part of half a mile away in the town centre. I say "handy" map only because it is displayed on the toilet but the route is a little convoluted. Tricky to remember whether walking or driving once you have moved quickly on.

   And while the still-open toilets are at the end of a car park (bottom, left), it is only a small car park which on three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) are where the outdoor stalls from the adjacent market hall are sited and on which days no parking is allowed.

   In early May 2011, Riddell Graham said: "Market Street had a fire about six weeks ago but were due to close anyway. The Barony toilets closed shortly afterwards. This was done by Cheshire East Council to save money, without consultation. A Cheshire East councillor involved in negotiations about transfer of facilities to the Town Council, said that since it is not a statutory service, but discretionary, that is acceptable."

 

YOU certainly wouldn't be able to park a coach on the Market Hall car park - even if, on a non-market day, you were lucky enough to find enough space. The adjacent Churchyardside is a pedestrianised roadway (still allowing some vehicles to use it). I mention coaches because as I took the picture of the Barony Road toilets I saw a coach parked across the road and a man, presumably the driver, hopefully crossing the road. Then he saw the closed sign. Even so, he gave the door a push. Just in case the sign

  map

was wrong.

    I don't know how well he knew the town but he could have sought out the toilets on the Snow Hill car park, off the Waterlode, near to the River Weaver. The Snow Hill toilets block (below, right) is open - for the moment, at any rate - but only between 9am and 4.30pm (don't people need a toilet break outside those times?) and not at all on a Sunday.

  The Nantwich Town Clerk said: "Cheshire East Council want the Town Council to take over the remaining two blocks and have vaguely threatened closure if we donít do so, from April 1, 2012. Again, whether the Town Council take on responsibility for public conveniences is up to elected councillors to consider."

    Caroline Griffies said: "It is my understanding that the two remaining facilities (Snow Hill car park and Nantwich Market) are part of the discussions taking place with Nantwich Town Council regarding local service delivery."

 

I AM convinced that the people in council chambers and offices who decide on the opening hours of toilets - and if they are to open at all - never go on holidays, or for a day out, in strange towns where they would need to seek out toilets. Otherwise they would make sure there were plenty of conveniences. Money shortages or not.

    You could, of course - if you could hold on - go for a coffee in one of the many refreshment establishments that exist in Nantwich, and use their facilities as you leave, refreshed! But, then again, you would need to start the toilet hunt all over again in the next town after the coffee had percolated through you. 

Market hall toilets

Waterlode car park toilets

 

 

The Market Hall car park toilets  

 

The Snow Hill car

park toilets 

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