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Ilkley Civic Society raises concerns over proposals for Changing Places Toilet

The existing public toilet block in South Hawkesworth car park (Google Street View)

Ilkley Civic Society (ICS) has raised its concerns over the design of a proposed Changing Places Toilet (CPT) facility for the town.

 

It was announced at the start of April, the facility will be paid for by Bradford Council and Ilkley Town Council will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining it. A planning application has been submitted, with a decision expected next month (May).


ICS says that whilst it strongly supporting the principle of this national initiative to improve facilities for people who need more facilities than a standard accessible toilet, it has concerns regarding this proposal.

 

Ilkley Civic Society says: “In the case of the proposal for a Changing Places Toilet facility in the town centre submitted recently for planning approval by Bradford council we have considerable concern regarding the design proposed. Guidance for Changing Places Facilities states ‘they should be in key public buildings’ and we suggest not in a portacabin on the edge of a car park. Whilst the provision of facilities within the toilet will provide all that the design guide recommends, externally this proposal lacks any design thought.

 

“As this facility is proposed for a location without immediate supervision and maintenance as is noted in all the case studies, how will it be managed to ensure it is in tip top condition?

 

“We suggest this is yet another case in the CPT programme in Bradford where a total lack of thought has been given to the design and siting of a temporary unit and are pleased to see Bradford Council has already refused one such unit planning permission due to its lack of appropriateness in a historic location. It may surprise some that the central car park is a historic location as it does sit in the centre of our Ilkley Conservation Area. The site is already identified in the CBMC Conservation Area Appraisal as ‘providing a NEGATIVE contribution’ to the conservation area for which CBMC has a legal duty to ‘preserve or enhance’, this proposal for a temporary white portacabin does neither. This portacabin will add to other recent developments in the area that whilst providing a useful facility actually add to the negative visual appearance of the area.

 

“The heritage statement, which forms part of the planning application contains many errors showing a total disregard for the heritage of the area.  It suggests the choice of site is ‘to a remote, almost hidden side of the existing convenience facility’, we disagree totally with this statement, the site and building will be highly visible to all users of the car park and those walking to The Grove which has a large footfall. ‘The suggestion that the ‘proposal must be seen to preserve or enhance’ the CA is not the case, it does neither.

 

“We also question why the City Park unit in Central Bradford is to be incorporated in an existing building, which could be the case in Ilkley as space exists within the existing public toilet building by changing the layout around the existing 2 accessible toilets shown (rooms 5 & 6) and taking in some of the current storage/office / gents/ ladies facilities? Why should Ilkley residents and visitors have to accept an inferior facility to City Park and the many case studies shown on the Changing Places website?


“We note no proposals are included for waste or recycling facilities for the facility and no proposals for relocating the large number of wheelie bins currently on the site. The whole area around the central car park is already littered with wheelie bins with the prospect of yet more being added, this is not enhancing the area.


"We also note in the planning application that the question ‘are hours of opening relevant’ is answered NO; we suggest the hours of opening are very relevant for future users.

 

“On the basis of the information provided Ilkley Civic Society has recommended refusal of this application by Bradford Planning dept until a more acceptable solution is designed.

 

“We suggest an even more welcoming, sustainable and practical solution would be for Bradford Council to locate the CPT inside one of the vacant units in the Bradford owned Moors/Dalesway shopping centre. This would give covered level access, as with the shops. At the same time new public toilets would be incorporated alongside the CPT, a more inclusive solution being in the same unit. This would then allow the demolition of the existing tired public toilets and a start made in creating a well designed pocket park/open space for visitors and residents users as they access the town.’

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