NOV 00] COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL NEWS
Toilets Row All Over Bar The Shouting
were banged, voiced raised and accusations thrown, but Coventry
City Council is no nearer deciding where its city centre toilets
of the arguments previously raised in the past three months were
aired again today by the scrutiny board looking at the plans to
move the information centre in Coventry Central Library and
putting public toilets in its place.
to break its impasse, the board chose, on the chairman’s vote to
refer the matter to next week’s council as a dispute.
final, binding decision will take place then. As the party whip is
applied to that meeting it is likely that the Labour cabinet will
get its way and public toilets will go on the ground floor of the
library building, with the information centre being moved to the
and library users are angry at the lack of consultation over the
principle of the toilets being put in the building.
also don’t want the existing customer toilets, on the first
floor, to be replaced and fear that the well-used information
centre will decline if it is moved to the first floor.
cabinet say that the need for public toilets in the city centre is
great, and this is the cheapest and most viable building
available. The toilets would be staffed, separated from the
library by a partition and would be open longer than library
hours, seven days a week.
today’s often angry meeting, Cllr Dave Batten, cabinet member
(Development and Renewal) fended off criticism from
“backbench” councillors on the scrutiny board.
only logical and affordable place is the library building on the
use a shop unit would cost around £400,000 in building costs,
instead of £250,000 to convert the information centre. There
would also be a loss of income.
Joe Clifford (Lab, Woodlands), the only Labour councillor who
opposed the plans today criticised plans to have the gents toilets
in the basements.
also said the public consultation had been inadequate. Cllr Batten
admitted that the council had not initiated any public
consultation, but library staff had put out their own survey.
resulted in an overwhelming majority in favour of retaining the
first floor toilets.
Batten said as a result of this, this option was being considered.
But it meant he couldn’t say where exactly the information
centre would go.
said if the first floor toilets were to be replaced then a scheme
would have to be worked out to decide which would move first, as
the information centre is due to swap place with the toilets.
Batten said that until the go-ahead for the scheme was given,
these details would not be produced.
Karen McKay (Socialist, St Michael’s) said:
has been no attempt to understand the library’s concerns. The
impact this could have on the library service has almost been
Batten retorted that many of the campaigners were pushing
inaccurate facts in their crusade. He said:
toilets are going to be in the library building, not the
library. The information centre is not going to be closed, it is
going to be moved.”
a very heated exchange with Cllr McKay he called her a liar, but
later withdrew this at the invitation of the chair, Cllr Ken
Taylor (Cons, Earlsdon), who tried to break the shouting match up
by banging his gavel on the table.
vote on accepting the plan was split seven-all, but Cllr Ken
Taylor used his casting vote to send the matter into dispute. It
will now be considered at 7pm on Thursday 16 November.
[09 NOV 00] VIGIL TO
SAVE INFORMATION CENTRE