The former toilets in Jubilee Gardens have been closed for over a year
A town council will soon be creating a new home for itself in a former toilet block.
The former public toilets in Bingley’s Jubilee Gardens have been closed for over a year – a victim of cost-cutting measures by Bradford Council.
But now a planning application to convert the building into new offices for Bingley Town Council have been approved by planners.
As well as converting part of the building into offices, the town council plans to keep part of it as a public toilet facility.
The Town Council currently rents office space in Cottingley Community Centre, but has been looking to move to a new, more central location since last year.
The planning application was to retain two accessible toilet blocks and convert the rest of the building, creating two meeting rooms and storage space for the Town Council.
New doors and windows will be added to the building, and a small entrance lobby built to the side.
That application has now been approved by Bradford Council, with officers saying the location, in the heart of the town centre and near bus and train links, made it ideal for Council offices.
The toilet blocks will be maintained by the Town Council – which was set up in 2016.
Now the plans have been approved, the way has been cleared for the Town Council to have a permanent presence in the heart of Bingley.
Approving the change of use application, planning officers said: “The proposal would find a new use for this building which is in the heart of Bingley close to the central market area and Bingley Arts Centre.
“As the site is located in the town centre, close to public car parks, the railway station, and alongside a 10-minute frequency bus route, the site would seem well-suited for this office use.
“The present building is of a modest appearance, and the proposal for the external walls to be over-clad with vertical timber cladding and insulated render panels would seem a good way of enhancing it and giving the building more presence.”
When the town council first revealed its plans to take on the toilets, chair Ros Dawson said public facilities were essential to “any civilised town” and were vital in attracting more people to shop and spend time in Bingley.
The toilet block is a short distance from Myrtle Park, the town’s swimming pool and the square where outdoor markets are held in the town.
In recent years a number of toilet facilities in across the district have been closed, as Bradford Council looks to tighten its purse strings in light of reduced central Government funding.
In Shipley, public toilets in the town centre were sold, and have since been converted into business units.
And in neighbouring Baildon the closed toilets were refurbished and are now operated by Baildon Town Council.