Formby Labour Councillor Nina Killen determined to get much need

Nina Killen

 

Notorious public conveniences in Formby could be in line for a much needed makeover, Formby Labour Councillor Nina Killen has said.

Duke Street Park toilets will be refurbished thanks to a £50,000 cash grant from Sefton Council's Section 106 money, which is earmarked for improvements for the park.

Section 106 funds is money the council gets from developers to make improvements to the local area.

Cllr Killen is calling for some of the money to be used to improve the public loos, after being contacted by a number of residents who use the park.

Cllr Killen said: "We've got some Section 106 money which will be released soon, and subject to Planning Committee consent, we should get £50,000 to spend on Duke Street Park. 

"This particular S106 money has to be spent on parks and greenspaces. The Lifeboat Road area, the beach and car park, will get around £5,000.

"Duke Street Park is a fantastic local facility and it is well used. The toilets have been a problem over the years and I am particularly keen to look at ways of stopping them falling into a state of disrepair so that families feel comfortable using them. A refurbishment would be a good way of getting them into good order."

As well as funding a refurbishment of the toilets, councillors are looking at options on how to ensure the toilets are appropriately used and not left open to vandalism.

Cllr Killen said: "At the moment the loos are cleaned once a day, each morning, but they can get into a bit of a state by the evening depending on how they have been used in the meantime.

"It costs £2,300 per year for the cleaning. We have asked to see if there is any way we can save on that but apparently that is quite cheap.

"They do get vandalised and misused so we are investigating what steps could be taken to provide contributions to improve their upkeep. One option suggested is to charge 20p to use them. Another is to have them upgraded but only opened during events, which we don't want because we want it to be a facility available for everyone whenever the park is open. There are very few 'events' in the park so they would hardly be open.

"Other options were to close these loos and signpost people to the library to use theirs. But again I would rather avoid that option as people would have to cross a busy road and also the library isn't always open, particularly at weekends.

"Another suggestion was to have the toilets locked and giving the bowls club the key and having signs telling people to ask the bowlers for the key if needed, but again the bowlers are not always there so we didn't want to do that.

"Upgrading them and then asking for a nominal fee for their use seemed a happy compromise, because then they are less likely to be vandalised.

"But we will make sure that there is a consultation before any decision is made."

Cllr Killen said further improvements would be made to the toilets and the park as a whole, following a planned public meeting.

Cllr Killen said: "As part of the package of park improvements, we would also be looking at improving the disabled access to the toilets and the surface of the concrete on the approach, lots of potholes are not so good for wheelchairs. We'd maybe have radar key system for disabled access.

"We are planning to have a public meeting with council officers to ask residents how they would like the money to be spent. I think this would be really good idea because we want as much community involvement as possible.

"Up for discussion will be spending some of the money on improving the paths, furniture, shrubs, trees and plants for the main part of the park around the football pitches and the rose garden.

"The tennis courts are also getting a bit of an upgrade from the Repairs and Maintenance budget. They are getting three new sets of posts and nets after previous ones got damaged.

"We will be making the final decision late summer, but I would welcome views now."

To share your views, email Nina.Killen@councillors.sefton.gov.uk

 

Nina Killen

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