Buxton letting itself down with ‘filthy’ public toilets says residents

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The public toilets of Buxton are letting the town down as we enter tourist season, says a concerned resident but change could be on the horizon as people look to form a new town council.

In Buxton town centre there are public toilets on the Market Place and on Sylvan Car Park which are managed by High Peak Borough Council.

Buxton resident Nigel Penn says both of these facilities are disgusting.

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He said: “There is just one cubicle on the Market Place which smells revolting.

The Town Hall Public Toilets. Photo Jason ChadwickThe Town Hall Public Toilets. Photo Jason Chadwick
The Town Hall Public Toilets. Photo Jason Chadwick

“Down in Sylvan car park for weeks the locks weren’t working and they are filthy.

“Around seven weeks ago I complained to the council about the dirty stains on the walls and now nearly two months later the walls are still a mess which means the cleaners are not cleaning properly.

“Both sets of toilets are filthy, disgusting and a terrible impression for all the visitors we get to our town in the summer for the Fringe, the Buxton Internation Festival and the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.

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“The council have opened up a performance space in Spring Gardens for the Fringe which is great but after an hour watching a show, drinking a drink because it’s hot there is nowhere to go to the toilet.

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The Sylvan Park Public Toilets. Photo Jason ChadwickThe Sylvan Park Public Toilets. Photo Jason Chadwick
The Sylvan Park Public Toilets. Photo Jason Chadwick

“There are no toilets in the Springs Shopping Centre and then when you do find the toilets they are a terrible advertisement for the town.

“If I were a visitor to the town I think the toilets would put me off from coming back - something needs to be done to improve them.”

High Peak Borough Council says ‘public toilets are valued facilities in our towns and communities but the thoughtless actions of a small number of people can result in temporary closures following deliberate damage and mis-use’.

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It says they are receiving an increasing number of complaints about the cleanliness and state of repair of these public amenities.

The Sylvan Park Public Toilets. Photo Jason ChadwickThe Sylvan Park Public Toilets. Photo Jason Chadwick
The Sylvan Park Public Toilets. Photo Jason Chadwick

And despite appearances a ‘regular schedule of cleaning is in place’ but ‘vandalism and people leaving the toilets in a mess often results in closure whilst the Council carries out expensive repairs leaving the public with no facilities in the meantime’.

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Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said: “The council provides public toilets for the benefit of residents and visitors at no cost as we know people really value these facilities.

“The toilets are cleaned regularly but our superb team can’t be everywhere at the same time and keeping toilets clean relies on everyone using them to do so responsibly and with other users in mind.

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“Most people respect this and don’t deliberately damage or deface them but we are increasingly receiving reports of toilets in unkempt states or being deliberately vandalised.

“This is entirely avoidable and we can’t keep on spending money on costly repairs only for them to be vandalised again.

“Everyone has a responsibility to ensure the public amenities they use are left in a clean and serviceable condition for other people so we’re urging the minority of people who abuse these facilities to treat them properly and use them appropriately.”

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Nigel says the council has lost its way and needs more local direction.

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He said: “Chapel-en-le-Frith has its own town council, New Mills has its own town council but Buxton does not.

“Decisions on what is best for the town are being made in Glossop or sometimes even in Leek with the shared headquarters with Staffordshire Moorlands.

“We need a town council full of people who live locally, and want to champion the area they live.”

A new campaign group Buxton Alliance has been set up to tackle this and give Buxton its own town council.

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Melandra Smith, from Buxton Alliance, said: “They call Buxton ‘The Gateway to The Peak District’, yet High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council consistently fail to invest our money in our town.“A short walk through Buxton reveals dirty, unpainted colonnades; no central public toilets; sagging municipal fences; blocked grids and drains; roads full of potholes; York stone pavements repaired with tarmac; a once-splendid park with overgrown flowerbeds, greening, peeling bridges and railings and broken riverbanks, overrun with rats and geese; an almost vacant town hall; no promised health hub; no local maternity facilities; all this and much more while massive housing developments continue to be allowed

”It's time to make our voices heard.”

The group says a town council for Buxton would provide an extra level of control over borough council decisions, the ability to raise funding for things that local people want and need and the power to veto things people do not want happening in or to our town.

Meandra said: “We’re not just petitioning for a brand new town council, however.

“We have also created a small but dedicated cross-party political group, Buxton Alliance, which we are launching fast on the petition’s heels.

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“If our petition is successful, some of the admin team, and other local people chosen from among this group, will stand in every one of the new seats created.

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“Free from party politics, we will be able to put what Buxton wants front and centre.

A petition has been launched to introduce a town council, if it gets more than 1,700 signatures it will then trigger a discussion by High Peak Borough Council.

To sign the petition visit change.org/p/sign-now-to-give-buxton-its-own-town-council for more information about Butxon Alliance visit buxtonalliance.org.uk

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