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Toilets Bogged Down By Revolting Councillors

Labour councillors have thrown plans to build public toilets in Coventry Library into turmoil by voting against the scheme.

Members of the Scrutiny Committee looking at the decision to move the information centre and replace it with toilets voted by seven to two to send it back to the cabinet.

Three Labour councillors stunned campaigners by siding with the Socialist and Conservative members.

The cabinet will now have to reconsider the decision. If they decide to press ahead with the scheme then the issue will be sent to the full council for a final verdict.

This could lead to a split in the Labour group, with the leaders being opposed by other councillors.

Bernard Moore and Ian Harris, who organised a petition against the plan, said they were amazed at the reversal.

They said:

“We thought the decision was going to be rubber-stamped, but then the Labour councillors started to speak out against.

”We don’t know what we will do next, we are considering the next move.”

The pair collected more than 2,000 signatures against the move in just a few days, but the cabinet had signalled that it was going to continue with the scheme regardless.

Cllr Joe Clifford, Coventry City CouncilCllr Joe Clifford, who led the revolt, said he was against the move after hearing that library staff were not consulted about the changes.

He called for full consultation to be carried out over the principle of the toilets being there, not on the design, as has been suggested.

Cllr Clifford (Labour, Woodlands) said:

"I want the library staff and the public to be properly consulted on this. The library staff are incensed by this and I believe they have a right to be consulted.

"I'm not sure a library is the best place for the public toilets.

"My hope is that the cabinet member will reconsider."

Cllr Karen McKay (Socialist, St Michael’s) said:

“If the staff had been pulled on board right from the beginning they might not have been so hostile.

“It’s very arrogant of the councillors to tell them what is happening without asking their opinion, and it has been very demoralising.

“I would make sure it’s not just the staff but the public that are consulted.”

Cllr Gary Crookes (Conservative, Wainbody), said:

“There is a lot of disquiet about this decision.

“I query the necessity of having toilets in the library when there are going to be toilets in the new Arrowcroft development in the Lower Precinct.

“It looks as if these toilets are going to come on-stream at the same time, so I think we should see what is being proposed for the Lower Precinct.

”I also would like to know which order things are going happen in if the toilets are put in the library.

“The current toilets are going to be removed to make way for the information centre, so there is going to be a situation where there is either no information centre or no toilets for library users.”
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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 4 Oct 00
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