Council starts search for town hall revenue

Ripley Town Council is set to reopen public toilets in the town after they were closed as part of money-saving measures by the borough council.

Amber Valley council closed 14 sets of public toilets in the borough last year to save around £50,000, replacing them with a community 
toilet scheme where businesses opened their loos to the public in return for a £700 yearly payment.

Town councillors had warned that the lack of facilities could encourage urinating in the street and public indecency.

Now they intend to pay the cost to re-open the Market Place toilets in Ripley.

Cllr Maurice Gent said of the closures at the latest town council meeting: “I am really angry about this. When you reach a certain age toilets are very important.

“The toilets in the 
Derbyshire Dales are out of this world. People need these things. This is one of the vital services that only a local authority can provide.

“Amber Valley is encouraging the law to be broken. Urinating in the street is indecent exposure.”

Cllr Ron Ashton said Amber Valley council’s community toilets scheme provided toilets that were open to the public at the Black Boy in Heage and Amber Valley CVS in Ripley.

The town council will consider the toilets in Heage separately. The lease on the land where Ambergate’s toilets were situated had expired and has not been renewed, it also heard.

The Heanor Market Place toilets will remain open until March 31, councillors were told.

Cllr C Worth said: “The alternative toilets in Ambergate are at the garage and it’s a 15-minute round trip to use the pedestrian crossing. When is someone going to look at the situation from a safety point of view?”

It was decided that council leader Steve Freeborn and the clerk would organise contracts to re-open the toilets - with a maximum cost of £5,000 for six months, with a view to re-opening them as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, ways of celebrating Ripley’s coal-mining past and its industrial heritage were also discussed. Cllr Freeborn warned there was no money in this year’s budget to pay for such things, but added it was “something we can take on board next year.”

A pit head winding wheel monument was dismissed by Cllr Ron Ashton. He said: “We have seen winding wheels all over the place. Ripley also has the Butterley Company and that ought to be represented at the same time. It was a vast employer. I would prefer a statue with a plaque.”

Cllr Matthew Jones said: “I think some kind of public art that celebrated the mining history and the diversity of Ripley’s industrial past - engineers and canals.”

It was decided that Ripley Heritage Action Group would start looking at options.