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Batley loos plan gets flushed

PLANS FLUSHED Batley's public toilets.

PLANS FLUSHED Batley's public toilets.

Councillors have flushed plans to change Batley’s former public toilets into a shop.

The Heavy Woollen Planning sub-committee said it was disappointed with Kirklees Council for resubmitting an application they had asked be withdrawn at the previous meeting.

Chairman Paul Kane was told by a legal officer that the council did not refuse its own applications – but the committee flushed away convention and voted to refuse the change of use application.

He said: “The general mood of the committee was to refuse this application.

“I think we have given them opportunity to withdraw it and that was very generous.

“I’m very disappointed. We indicated that if it came back we would refuse it.”

Prior to last Thursday’s meeting, Batley West councillor Gwen Lowe (Lab) had asked for the application to be deferred to give a campaign group hoping to reopen the toilets more time to secure funding.

The group’s chairman Andrew Marsden told the News last week that if the change of use was approved, a buyer could scupper plans to reopen the toilets.

A petition objecting to the plans had gained 1,002 signatures.

And the meeting also heard that Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood, also a member of the campaign group, had made an official complaint to Kirklees Council after talks to reopen the loos had become ‘frustrated’ by council officers.

It has been rumoured that interest has been shown in transforming the former toilets into a taxi rank.

Dan Howard, on behalf of Mr Wood, told the meeting the council had an interest in the building – but not as a shop.

He said the toilets could become a type of ‘office’ that would not be appropriate in Batley’s civic square.

But a planning officer said the application restricted the change of use to retail only.

The committee voted unanimously to refuse the application, which had been submitted by the council’s Physical Resources and Procurement team.

 

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