Public toilets which have been closed for decades in Keswick could reopen thanks to a proposed £25,000 rebuild.
The boarded-up toilets are on the old platform at the town’s former railway station, which shut in 1972 and remains attached to the Keswick Hotel.
Keswick Community Asset Company (KCAC) is now planning to bring them back into use to meet what is expected to be increased demand in that area when the Keswick to Threlkeld path fully reopens later this year after major repairs following flood damage.
The not-for-profit company already owns the pay-to-use public toilets at Bell Close and Lakeside car parks, having taken them over from Allerdale Borough Council.
Now it is seeking the go-ahead from Allerdale to take over the old train station toilets, having drawn up a financial package to pay for the conversion work.
This includes a significant contribution from Tommy Cubby, of Cubby Construction, which is carrying out the path’s restoration, along with contributions from KCAC, Keswick Town Council and possibly the Lake District National Park Authority.
“At a virtual meeting of the board of Keswick Community Asset Company last week it was agreed that we should now push for the reopening of the public toilets on the old station platform which have been closed for decades now,” said KCAC chairman Tony Lywood.
He said that Danfo UK Ltd, which operates KCAC’s toilets at Bell Close and Lakeside, had suggested an initial budget of £25,000 to create modern toilets using the current footprint beneath the glass canopy at the Allerdale-owned former station.
“It looks like we have a plan to reopen these public toilets and the wherewithal to obtain the money,” he said.
“There is considerable pressure from the public to reopen them for next season with the £7 million renovation of the K2T path.
“Public toilets are seriously expensive for councils to run and are closing across the country. We are offering to open one for the benefit of all.
“Now we need the co-operation of Allerdale Borough Council to grant a lease to open them.
“I know that they may have other plans for the whole area, but with the opening of the K2T path, public toilets up there are a must. This is a nil cost to Allerdale Borough Council and would be of great benefit to both visitors and locals alike,” said Mr Lywood.
He added that the other toilets operated by Danfo were fairly successful and provide a great service”
The 40p per use fee covers Danfo’s costs, with the surplus being used by KCAC to provide other local facilities, such as the £6,000 it gave recently to pay for a flashing speed warning sign to be installed on Chestnut Hill.
Danfo has agreed to operate the new toilets.
KCAC is asking Allerdale for a licence to take over the site on a peppercorn rent.
The toilets would be a modular form to ensure they would not be in the way of any future development plans for that site.