In March 2018, Bingley Public Toilets will be shut by Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Bingley Town Council is exploring the possibility of a Community Asset Transfer and developing the toilet site into useful office space for the Town Council and public toilets for Bingley.

Cllr Dawson explains: “Public toilets are essential for health, well-being, our local economy and efforts to regenerate our town centre. The Town Council has looked at a number of options to keep open Bingley toilets. This solution to develop the site to provide both offices and public facilities is the most cost-effective and viable way of ensuring our town has public toilets for years to come as well as central, affordable and accessible offices for the Town Council.

The consultation into the plans will be launched on Saturday, 2 December, with a drop-in event at Cardigan House, Ferncliffe Road, Bingley from 10am and 3pm. The plans and a survey will then be available on line and in Bingley Library until the 31st December when the consultation ends.

Cllr Dearden said: “We urge everyone to take part in the consultation, find out the details, ask questions and share their views. Feedback is vital. If the majority are in favour, it is likely the Town Council will go ahead. If the majority are not, then it is likely the Town Council won’t continue with the plans.”

Plans of the proposed scheme and full information about the financial implications will be available at the meeting. To fund the development, the Town Council would need to apply to the Government to borrow at a fixed rate from the Public Works Loan Board. The Town Council anticipate making an application for a loan of £157,500. As of 23rd November 2017, the six-month payment for an Annuity Loan through the Public Works Loan Board will be £4,962.34. This is for payment of over 19 ½ and not over 20 years. The annual fee will be double this i.e. £9,925. The cost of this for a Band D equivalent property is 0.58p for the 2018-2019 financial year (the project will start mid-way through the next financial year and therefore only six month’s interest will accrue) and, in future years, will be £1.16. The % rise to the precept for the loan for 2018 -2019 is 3.63 %. For future years and based on last year’s precept (2016-2017) the percentage increase will be 7.267%. (N.B. At the point that the Town Council applies for the loan there may be a different interest rate to that quoted on 23rd November 2017.).       

The proposal would also involve a Community Asset Transfer (CAT), a legal and administrative process to transfer management and responsibility for the toilets from Bradford District Council to Bingley Town Council.

Both applications – for a CAT and for a government loan – require public consultation and evidence of support for the proposal.