TRADERS have launched a campaign to keep Birstall’s public toilets open beyond Christmas.
The loos on Market Street, among 11 facilities axed by Kirklees Council last year, were given a temporary reprieve.
Area committee funding is keeping the toilets open until December 31 in the hope a group comes forward to take them over.
But organisations like Birstall In Bloom do not have and are unlikely to raise the estimated £7,000 a year needed.
Traders, worried the toilets will therefore close, launched a petition on Monday to force Kirklees into a u-turn.
Hundreds of signatures have been collected already and more were set to be added yesterday (Thurs) at a market event.
Birstall Chamber of Trade are behind the move and will host a public meeting at the Oakwell Motel on Wednesday from 7pm.
Chairman Anne Thompson wants Kirklees to re-consider charging as a way to keep loos in Birstall and elsewhere open.
“It’s the old adage of ‘spending a penny’,” she said. “With inflation that might be 20p now and I don’t think anybody would object to paying that.”
She also attacked Kirklees for wasting money and said: “The Muslim mosque burial fiasco cost the council at least £25,000 in lost revenue.
“Also £10,000 went missing from a drugs support group. That money would have kept Birstall’s toilets open for years.”
Arguments against charging include the cost of installing machines and barriers and the possibility thieves may try to steal the cash.
Coun Andrew Palfreeman (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) said: “We’re keen for the toilets to remain open. But we can’t afford to keep funding them from the area committee as the money has got tighter.”