Ilkley Town Council have called an Extraordinary Meeting for Friday (12 March) to consider plans to spend over £100k refurbing the Riverside Gardens toilet block.
The council said it is aware of continuing problems with the toilet block, which is currently closed as a result of vandalism which has irreparably damaged the hand washing units. The facility will reopen as soon as temporary arrangements can be made to ensure that appropriate hand sanitisation is in place.
As a result of the forced closure, the Town Council has also become aware that members of the public have been using nearby areas in an unsanitary and inappropriate manner, and have taken steps to ensure that Bradford Council's cleaning teams attend to undertake a clean-up of the public land at this location, which is managed by Bradford.
When Ilkley Town Council saved the toilet block in Riverside Gardens from closure by Bradford Council in 2019, it inherited a building in a very poor state of repair after years of neglect, and it was immediately necessary to undertake a complete roof replacement and the removal of asbestos to ensure that the toilets remained accessible for public use. This resulted in expenditure in the order of £15,000 by the Council. Deep cleaning, basic internal repairs and an overhaul of the cleaning schedule were also necessary. Since then, a working group has been developing plans for the total refurbishment of the block to bring it to modern accessible standards.
Following a site visit by our preferred contractor on Thursday March 5, the Town Council has convened an Extraordinary Meeting for Friday 12 March at 5.30pm to consider the proposed costed plans.
Complete refurbishment will be a major budgetary commitment for the Council at over £100,000, but it is expected that this will create top class facilities of the quality that residents and visitors to Ilkley would expect. This will augment the ongoing improvements in the riverside areas area that are being generated by Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks, the Ilkley Clean River Group and other partners.
Ilkley Chat understands the proposed upgrade would include four separate bods within the current block, two of which will be disabled friendly with ramps, larger doors and offer baby changing facilities.
The Council will also consider how it can maintain some temporary facilities during any refurbishment, if this is necessary.
Ilkley Town Mayor Councillor Mark Stidworthy said "The Town Council is grateful for the leadership of the Chair of the Toilet Working Group Councillor Mike Gibbons, and our Town Clerk Louise Close, in accelerating our plans for the redevelopment of the Riverside Gardens toilets. We hope that we will soon be able to deliver new toilets here that reflect the importance placed by locals and visitors alike on high quality public facilities."