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Larkhall Residents Step Up Campaign
A well attended meeting was held recently giving those who have concerns about the closure an opportunity to speak to local councillors about the situation.
Councillor Peter Craig attended the meeting and answered a series of questions from the public and he also expressed his frustration with South Lanarkshire Council’s decision to close the public toilets.
He showed his full support for Larkhall Community Council in their efforts in getting the reprieve to allow them to explore ways in which they can keep the facility open.
Sheena Campbell of Larkhall Community Council said: “These toilets are not only a must for the general public but are imperative in encouraging people from other villages and towns to shop in Larkhall.
“The baby changing facilities allow young mums to spend time in the town centre and the most important section of our argument relates to the disabled toilet which would be lost.
“We have also contacted other community councils who are losing their toilets in Strathaven and Stonehouse to discuss a way forward and we have decided to work together to press South Lanarkshire Council to change their mind over this policy.”
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, also commented on the closure.
She said: “It’s a bit rich that Larkhall benefits from a train station to help boost the economy but you can’t get caught short while you’re there because there’s nowhere to go.
“There are some 20,000 people resident in Larkhall and closure of the toilets will impact on both local people and those coming in from surrounding towns.
“Elderly people, those with a disability and those with young children will feel uneasy about leaving their homes without access to a public toilet.”
A petition with over 3000 signatures has been raised in a bid to make South Lanarkshire Council think again.
The community council are also trying to secure cash from the Aviva Community Fund in an effort to keep the toilets open.
The community council have reached the public vote stage of the funding and are urging residents to log on and cast their votes.
Residents can support the community council by logging onto: https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/Project/View/1309
Larkhall councillor Jackie Burns has also committed to supporting any community initiative to enable the community council to keep the public toilets in King Street open.
He said: “Unfortunately, as part of the Scottish Government’s financial settlement, South Lanarkshire Council has had to cut £22 million from its budget, which has resulted in all public conveniences in the council closing.
“An extension of three months has been given to Larkhall to allow an opportunity of a community group running the facility.
I have offered my support to the community council and hope they succeed with their project”.
Stephen Kelly, Head of Facilities Waste and Ground Services said: “The council has had to achieve significant levels of saving in recent years, and that remains the case as it plans for 2015/16 and beyond.
“This has resulted in difficult choices having to be made and, as part of the council’s efficiency programme, has included the closure of public toilets in South Lanarkshire.
“We have extended our opening of this facility until the end of June and the council is willing to work with any group who has an interest on taking on the responsibility for any of the public conveniences due to close.”