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Staff Sit Tight Over Toilets Plan

Staff working at Coventry central library have refused to give their views about the proposed relocation of the information centre in protest at the lack of consultation over the scheme.

The long-standing row over the installation of public toilets in the ground floor of the building is set to reach a climax this week when councillors examine the result of consultation with library staff.

Cabinet members, keen to meet the demand for new toilets in the city centre, have argued that moving the information centre upstairs is the only option.

Officers have suggested moving the existing toilets on the first floor of the library out to make way for the information centre.

The new toilets downstairs are to be open longer  - from 8am to 10pm - than library hours and will have a full time concierge. There will also be a telephone link to the library for people unable to get to the Information Centre on the first floor.

Cabinet members were ordered to take the views of library staff into account before proceeding with the scheme.

A vote among library users has revealed that 203 were in favour of keeping the first floor toilets in their current location, while only ten said they should be moved.

A report to this Thursday’s Scrutiny Board meeting said that on the basis of this public consultation, the Library Service recommended that these toilets be retained.

Members of the project team say they have now addressed many of the major concerns about the design of the new toilets, although some issues relating to safety and signs can only be addressed as part of the detailed design process.

The report said:

“The library staff were specifically asked for their views on the relocation of the Information centre, but declined to comment in view of their objections to the principle of the scheme, and perceived lack of consultation with them and the public.

“Further discussion on how and where the Information Centre service relocated will be required if the project proceeds.

“It is important to note that whilst library staff have been informed about the proposal to site the toilets in the Central Library building, they maintain they were not consulted on the principle prior to the decision being made.”

Protestor Bernard Moore said he was glad that the views of the library staff were being made known to councillors.

Mr Moore, who with Ian Harris has been campaigning against the scheme as he fears that it will lead to a drop in visitors to the Information Centre, said:

”They’ve been saying this all along, but the councillors will now have to listen to them.”
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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 6 Nov 00
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