Row over toilets closure in Sheffield

Pictured are Chapeltown Public Toilets, at the entrance to Chapeltown Park, on Cowley Lane,Chapeltown
Pictured are Chapeltown Public Toilets, at the entrance to Chapeltown Park, on Cowley Lane,Chapeltown
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Community leaders in Sheffield have demanded to know why a cash grant which could have saved public toilets from closure was not made available.

Residents were angered when Sheffield Council shut down Chapeltown’s facilities, used by visitors to the nearby park, earlier this year.

A budget shortfall was blamed for the closure of the toilets, which underwent a full refurbishment three years ago.

Now Ecclesfield Parish Council, which is in talks to take over the running of the toilets, has asked why money from Chapeltown’s Thriving District and Local Centres scheme has not been offered to them.

It comes after Freedom of Information Act figures revealed £14,718.43 transferred to the Parks and Countryside department to improve the war memorial has not been spent after the project was put on hold.

There was also a further £5,847.57 of the grant left unspent at the end of the financial year.

Chapeltown resident and former city councillor Colin Taylor said: “It is interesting the money was actually passed to the parks department on March 31, the same day the toilets closed.

“I think it’s hypocritical that our city councillors voted to close the toilets and not use this money to keep them open. Effectively they only used 60 per cent of the money that was available to improve Chapeltown.

“Then they had the audacity to raise a petition asking the parish council to re-open them. It would have been simpler to have used this £20,000 to keep the toilets open.”

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “£15,000 had been allocated to enhancing Chapeltown centre. We had been scoping out a project to move the war memorial from the park to Chapeltown centre.

“Unfortunately it seems this project would cost far in excess of the £15,000 budget and we are now working to identify another suitable project for this spend.”

He added the council was in ‘detailed discussions’ with residents about the toilets.