A COUNCILLOR was left concerned when he heard there had been a suggestion that toilets at Wellington Cricket Club could be opened up for public use.

Members of Wellington Town Council’s devolution working group met on June 26 where they discussed the ongoing future of the North Street toilet block.

Councillors had previously agreed to take on the responsibility of the North Street loos as part of the devolution of services from cash-strapped Somerset Council.

They did not take long to decide at the council’s 2024-25 budget-setting meeting back in January that they needed to spend more than just a penny on toilets in the future and were happy to take on the North Street loos from the county authority.

But now councillors are getting down to the details of the project involved and had asked Somerset Council as to whether the run down toilets would be given some sort of refurbishment before handing over the responsibility.

Only late last year Cllr Keith Wheatley had said the toilets looked “neglected” and “shabby” and that there was “so much vegetation growing on the roof it looks like something out of the rainforest.”

And he quipped: “They haven’t been painted in about a 1,000 years.”

But town clerk Dave Farrow, speaking to the devolution working group on June 26, said that Somerset Council had told him that the North Street toilets would be “taken as seen and that no remedial work would be carried out.”

Cllr Justin Cole, at the working group meeting, questioned whether there was an actual need for the North Street toilets given there were also toilets in the nearby Wellington Cricket Club pavilion which was owned by Somerset Council and could be an alternative.

But Cllr John Thorne, speaking at the town council’s policy and finance committee meeting on July 8, said: “I hope Cllr Cole was joking when he suggested people could use the cricket club toilets? I think that would be inappropriate.”

Cllr Cole quickly responded by saying the working group was looking at various options about toilet facilities and that the suggestion had cropped up during the discussion.

“Using the cricket club toilets was an option – albeit not a favourable one,” said Cllr Cole. “This is a group that is looking at ideas about toilets and costs are escalating on this.”

Wiltshire-based Healthmatic, a company which has designed and installed more than 600 toilet blocks across the UK and Ireland for public authorities, is to be contacted and asked to advise on how many cubicles would be needed at the North Street toilets and also the costs involved for the refurbishment of the loos including the installation of timed locking mechanisms.

Work on replacing the council’s Longforth Road toilet block – which has now been completely demolished and the site cleared – goes on.

Consultants Ravenslade are currently drawing up plans for the new facilities which were initially closed for good back in December 2023 when a motorist drove into the building and made it unsafe.