You may be aware that Poole Borough Council are proposing to close an additional eight toilet blocks across the borough in order to effect savings. One of the toilet blocks identified for closure is at Baiter Park. Whilst appreciating the council has to make savings, I personally believe the closure of toilets at Baiter Park is a backward step. I live opposite the block and in some ways closure of this non-aesthetic block may appear pleasing. However, for the following reasons I will object to it:
- The council is keen for people to use ‘community’ toilet facilities which is fine in town centres but there are none even remotely close to Baiter
- It will inhibit usage by elderly, very young and disabled. How removal of such facilities will sit statutorily with disability access would be interesting in a court of law
- Baiter toilets are one of the most-used toilets in Poole as a result of the huge number of visitors. Where will they be expected to use toilets if they don’t know the area?
- Sailors launch boats from the slipway (Harbourside 1 car park). They will probably need to use toilets either prior or after sailing
- Baiter is visited by many school groups. Removal of toilets may cause significant logistical problems (as a former headteacher I am only too aware of this!)
- We recently agreed to a ‘Field of Hope’ for Marie Curie Charity with planting of thousands of daffodils at Baiter. Large numbers of visitors will make emotional visits, many of whom will travel from afar. The last consideration for them will be to try to find toilets when they don’t know the area
The list goes on…Please remember, when the first round of closures occurred, Baiter wasn’t even a consideration. Where next if another tranche of savings are to be made…? I have contacted all ward councillors for our area and received responses from Cllrs Howell- Poole Town, Cllr Challinor (despite him representing Parkstone and not being ward councillor for Baiter Park) and also Cllr Hadley- Poole Town. I have not had a reply from Cllr Garner-Watts-Poole Town.
A local resident of Whitecliff has had a reply from the ‘Parkstone Ward Team’ – ‘…we are not PROUD of having to make any cuts at all-and didn’t ‘happily’ vote to close toilets. It was with great reluctance and is a reflection of the budgetary pressures we face. And, as I have said, we are doing what we can to keep open toilets and protect services.’
The proposal to close the eight toilet blocks has been ‘called- in’ at a Scrutiny Committee on 20 February 2017 @ 14:00 in the Civic Centre. If you feel as strongly as I do about proposed closure of an additional eight toilet blocks (remember, this is NOT the FIRST tranche of closures –and wonder where subsequently the next closures may occur…) please make your feelings known to our respective ward councillors and attend the meeting. Thank you