Marlborough could be left without public toilets during transfer
Visitors to Marlborough could find themselves caught short as the Town Council seeks to take control of public conveniences from Wiltshire Council.
The county council, which has no statutory authority to provide toilets, is seeking to offload its conveniences to parish councils from April 1. Any facilities not adopted locally will be closed.
Marlborough Town Council has been looking for several years at taking over the running of public toilets in the town.
Indeed, the final act of 2013’s mayor Edwina Fogg was to begin the process of reopenning the toilets under the Town Hall that officially bear her family name – the loos were opened by Edwina's husband, then-mayor Nick Fogg, in 1985, and the nickname Fogg's Bogs stuck.
The original plan was to sell the public toilets at Chantry Lane to a land developer, and put the anticipated £100,000 windfall towards the refurbishment of the Town Hall toilets, with the surplus being spent on refurbishing those at George Lane.
That plan was rubber-stamped by Marlborough’s Area Board in 2013.
However, in light of Wiltshire Council’s stated intention to close public conveniences, the town council’s priorities have changed, with members now in favour of taking over, refurbishing and extending the conveniences at George Lane.
The extension could include a rest room for coach drivers – part of Marlborough’s bid to achieve Coach Friendly Town status.
At last night’s (Monday’) town council meeting, Town Clerk Shelley Parker told councillors they “faced a difficult decision”.
The costs of refurbishing both the Town Hall toilets and those at George Lane would not be met by the anticipated windfall from the sale of Chantry Lane.
“Marlborough may be without toilets for a while,” said the clerk.
“I’m perturbed by the thought of the town not having toilets at all. That could be for weeks and weeks,” replied councillor Mervyn Hall.
Councillor Marian Hannaford-Dobson pooh-poohed a plea from Councillor Hall to secure a bridging loan allowing the council to start work on the George Lane toilets before the rewards of the Chantry Lane sale were reaped.
Councillors voted to instruct the clerk to ask Marlborough Area Board to amend its 2013 order, in favour of an asset transfer of the George Lane conveniences. The body meets tonight (Tuesday).
They also agreed to form a committee to drive the take-over. Councillors Marian Hannaford-Dobson, Mervyn Hall, Guy Loosmore, Stewart Dobson, Noel Barrett-Morton and mayor Margaret Rose will sit on the toilet committee.