Shoppers’ anger over closed toilets

Coun Norman Bradbury at the Atherton toilet
Coun Norman Bradbury at the Atherton toilet

SHOPPERS have been left cross-legged by the shock closure of council conveniences.

Those wanting to spend a penny at the long-established public toilets in Atherton were surprised to find them locked an barred without any notice of explanation.

Now a ward councillor is demanding a commitment from the authority that, despite the £48m spending cuts, they will find the cash to re-open it.

He says that such public conveniences, in Flapper Fold Lane, are a key part of keeping trade in the under pressure town centre.

Independent Norman Bradbury said: “People have been coming up to me demanding to know just what has happened to their public loo?

“Irate shoppers and residents in Atherton have been contacting me non-stop to find out why the public conveniences have been closed for so long.

“As far as I know they haven’t been available since December 10 and three and a half months is long enough to wait for a comparatively straightforward piece of plumbing repair.

“I have been unable to give them an answer as nobody from Wigan MBC has informed me that they were closed, or given a reason for the closure or a clue as to when or if they will open again.

“After trying all day to find an answer, I have drawn a blank, apart from rumours that there had a water leak.”

Wigan Council’s Head of Safer, Cleaner, Greener Neighbourhoods Sally Wolstencroft said there have been “problems” at the Flapper Fold Lane conveniences in Atherton since Christmas.

Severe weather caused a major burst and damage to the facility’s meter equipment and underground piping.

She said: “There was an initial delay as United Utilities were dealing with a high volume of problems all over the region, but they carried out work in early January, and the toilets did re-open for a couple of weeks.

“Unfortunately the freezing weather caused serious damage that was not identified initially, and a series of further bursts and leaks has led to the toilets being closed while investigatory work is carried out. It has not been a satisfactory situation and we would like to apologise to the people of Atherton for the inconvenience caused.

“However I am pleased to confirm that works are expected to be completed by the end of next week.”

There are 13 remaining public conveniences across the borough.

The Metro’s large Market Place underground toilets closed in the 1990s, along with conveniences at the former Market Square/bus station.

Wigan Lane’s municipal toilets – a Government listed building – closed in 2000 and formed a part of what is now the Orchid Room cafe which is increasingly popular with visitors to patients in the Infirmary, or those returning from a stroll around Haigh Hall Plantations.

However shoppers have a number of alternatives if caught short, including toilets at both North Western and Wallgate Railway Stations, inside The Galleries Shopping Centre and in the The Grand Shopping Arcade, not forgetting a myriad pubs and cafes.