Uppermill toilets to become Oldham’s ‘Temple bar’?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 8:00am

By Charlotte Green (Local Democracy Reporter)

Could this toilet block be Oldham’s answer to Manchester’s famous public-convenience turned bar, The Temple?

Bosses think the closed loos in St Chad’s Gardens in Uppermill could be reopened as a cafe or shop and are offering people the chance to take on the building.

The toilets have been shut to the public since May last year, when the council decided to lock the doors following repeated incidents of anti-social behaviour.

As part of the lease, any new landlords will also have to provide toilets that are open to the public during their opening hours.

“We never want to close public toilets, but the vandalism forced our hands. We can’t afford to keep repairing them,” council leader Sean Fielding said.

“By finding a new use for the block we’ll hopefully be helping to create a new business and also making sure there are toilets to use – a facility that currently isn’t offered.”

It could follow in the footsteps of The Temple bar in Manchester, a renovated Victorian toilet block that is now one of the city’s smallest bars.

But any potential leaseholder will have to spend more than a penny to get their hands on them – according to Unity Partnership, the incoming tenant will be responsible for the business rates which are currently valued at £3,450.

But they say it is likely that this will be re-assessed depending upon the future use of the building.

Uppermill Toilets 2, cropped

Saddleworth Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “I can think of the Temple of convenience in Manchester, that’s a former public toilet and half the marketing is the fact that it used to be a toilet!

“If they have managed to make a feature of that I don’t see why it couldn’t be done in Uppermill. The park is extremely well used.

“If there is a solution there that is going to prevent the toilets being left in a mess I am open to seeing how it might work, but it doesn’t obviously resolve the problem of vandalism.

“There’s been a problem with graffiti and general misuse, going back years.

“But it’s better if we can manage to get some public toilets back in there.”

Coun Al-Hamdani added they are trying to increase awareness of the Community Toilet Scheme which is funded by Saddleworth Parish Council to meet the deficit of public facilities locally.

“There are a number of community toilets, where businesses have agreed to let their toilets be used, but a lot of people aren’t aware of this,” he said.

“We are in the process of signposting them, that there are these facilities available and we need to make a better job of letting people be aware of that.”

People interested in taking on a lease of the toilet block have until 12pm on Friday, June 7, to make an expression of interest to the council and complete a tender submission form.

Any change of use will be subject to planning permission.

 


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