The fight to re-open Batley’s public toilets took a big step forward recently when campaigners successfully persuaded the local council planning committee not to approve an application made by Kirklees Council for change of use of the toilet building to an A1 retail unit.
The campaign is led by Andrew Marsden of our Batley office as Chairman of the group, which includes local MP Mike Wood and local councillor Amanda Studley. Both Andrew and Amanda addressed the planning committee as did Councillor Gwen Lowe. It was certainly not a foregone conclusion as the application had the full support of the Kirklees planning officer and they were a few tentative moments waiting for the decision to be made.
” The public toilets are a vital part of the town centre, and we must do everything that we can to ensure that they reopen” said Andrew Marsden, ” many visitors to the town centre need the security of knowing that there is a toilet available for them to use, particularly elderly visitors, parents with young children, and of course people with disabilities. Unfortunately without the public toilets being available people who would otherwise visit and support the town centre are being forced to shop elsewhere where there are facilities” Supported by the Batley business Association the group is working hard to try and raise funding that would enable the toilets to reopen. Stopping the change of use was an important landmark in the fight because that removes the imminent possibility of the units being sold and used for some form of retail purpose which would remove forever the possibility of the toilets being returned to the people of the town. The campaign has significant backing within local community as evidenced by a petition signed by thousands of local Batley residents.