The Peak District National Park Authority is to bring local interested parties together to find a way to keep public toilets open in the popular beauty spot of Dovedale.
The move comes after a public meeting on the future of the toilets which cost the Authority more than £17,000 a year to run – a figure it can no longer afford in the face of drastic budget cuts.
The Authority’s head of property Keith Jennings said: “The meeting was very positive, and though some people were critical, many understood the difficult situation we are in and came with constructive suggestions.
“As a result, we’re inviting interested parties, such as Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Thorpe and Ilam parish councils, the National Trust and local businesspeople, to get together to see what can be done jointly.
“We hope that a trust or non-profit making company could be set up, with contributions from all the partners in cash, skills, support services or voluntary work, to run the toilets as a public service.
“The toilets are part of the local tourist economy on which many local people depend, and we definitely don’t want to see them closed any more than local people do.”
Anyone who would like to get involved, either as an organisation or individually, is invited to contact Keith Jennings on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01629 816200 as soon as possible.
The problem for the Authority is that its toilets elsewhere are supported by car parks or snack kiosks, whereas at Dovedale it has no other source of income – the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust and the car park is privately owned.
The high cost is partly due to a private pumping station and sewer which have to be maintained, along with cleaning and maintenance. Income from a coin-in-the-slot would not cover costs and may be subject to vandalism.
The public meeting at Thorpe Village Hall was led by National Park Authority chief executive Jim Dixon. The chair of the Authority’s audit, resources and performance committee Christopher Pennell was also there, along with Mr Jennings.