Call for Pavilion Gardens toilets to be privately run

Vandals have targeted the public toilets on Strutt Street, Belper.
Vandals have targeted the public toilets on Strutt Street, Belper.

The closure of the Pavilion Gardens toilets has been branded a ‘scandal’ by a concerned resident who wants to see a private company take on the businesses in The Octagon.

Guy Milner thinks High Peak Borough Council are letting both residents and tourists down by not providing lavatory services or tourist information until February 1.

The 80-year-old said: “We had such good weather between Christmas and New Year and the Pavilion Gardens was full of people walking or playing on the playground but it is a scandal that the toilets have been shut. Although there are toilets near the car park it can be too far to walk for young children or the older generation.”

High Peak Borough Council has embarked on a £3 million project for major remedial work to those buildings not renovated during the 2008-2010 programme. However, together with the cost of hiring the marquee, the cost to the taxpayer of operating the Gardens has risen very considerably.

To try and reduce costs the council announced last month there will be reduced operational hours of the Pavilion Café, the coffee bar will now only be open from April to September every year.

Mr Milner, who lives in Buxton and walks through the Gardens most days, said: “The cafe, the kiosk and the tourist information are crying out to be taken on by a privately owned company and if I was ten years younger I would be spearheading it.

“It is amazing how much good can come when people take back control from the council. Take Poole’s Cavern and the market as prime examples.

“These are now thriving and bringing people into the area. When people come to the Pavilion Gardens and there isn’t the facilities to meet their needs - why would they come back again?”

Councillor Tony Kemp, deputy leader of the council and executive councillor for Tourism and Regeneration, said: “The Pavilion Gardens is an important and valued attraction for local people and visitors which is why the Council is investing in securing the buildings.”