Public toilets for sale or rent

By in Community News

THREE public toilets, closed by West Somerset Council in April, are up for sale or rent, the council’s scrutiny committee will be told at its meeting next Thursday (August 3).

The council’s asset management group has instructed estate agents Lambert Smith Hampton to put the Market Street, Watchet, Carousel Minehead, and Porlock’s Central car park toilets on the market.

In November, the firm sold the disused toilets in Church Street, Dunster, for £44,000.

In a briefing to the scrutiny committee, Chris Hall, assistant director, operational delivery, said that nine of the 13 toilets involved in the council’s decision to relinquish control were now under new ownership.

“By transferring so many of the facilities we, with the support of town and parish councils, have been able to support the health and wellbeing needs of our local communities,” Mr Hall said.

But some have remained closed while the council continued negotiations over their future. They are:

* Selworthy toilets have been taken back by the National Trust and remain closed during renovations.

West Somerset Council still has a lease on the building and is responsible for cleaning and maintenance, but negotiations are in progress to terminate the lease.

* Williton’s Killick Way toilets have been closed since April, but Mr Hall said a transfer to Williton Parish Council may still be possible. He said the parish council had asked for details of a three-year lease but no decision had been reached.

Alternative uses for the Williton toilets included district council storage.

* Wheddon Cross toilets are closed but a transfer to the parish council has been agreed and is in the hands of solicitors.

* Watchet’s Market Street toilets could be offered for rent, subject to a change of planning use and could be exempt from business rates.

* Minehead’s Carousel toilets, although closed, are subject to business rates. The asset group recommends a possible change of use.

* Porlock central car park toilets are closed and a change of use is recommended. The building could also be exempt from business rates.

Mr Hall said the takeover of the Blue Anchor facilities by a group of local residents had been a great success, and added: “The toilets were originally operating from a lease so that they could have a trial run by entering into a freehold.

“But they returned to WSC much sooner than expected to make a freehold request and this has been completed.”

Mr Hall said that freehold transfers had been completed on Lion Stables car park, Dulverton, Dunster Steep, Summerland and Blenheim Gardens, Minehead and Harbour Road, Watchet.

Porlock Parish Council has leased Doverhay car park for 35 years and Minehead Town Council has a leasehold arrangement on the Quay West seafront car park.

Minehead council has also taken out a short-term management agreement to keep the Warren Road toilets open while longer term options are considered.