On Wednesday night, at Wokingham Borough’s Planning Committee, a controversial scheme to build new toilets on the side of the library was approved by a split vote.
Phil Challis Lib Dem Town Councillor for Loddon Airfield spoke on behalf of Woodley Town Council at the meeting, saying that the proposed toilet block was poorly designed and was out of keeping with the library. He explained to members that the proposed toilet block has a flat roof, against Wokingham Borough Council’s own guidelines and will block out part of one of the large library windows and will look awful from inside and outside.
Beth Rowland Lib Dem Leader of Woodley Town Council said “The Tory leadership pushed ahead with the demolition of the old toilets; turned down an offer by LIDL to build new public toilets and are now pushing through a very poor design. Woodley is right to expect better from Wokingham Borough. The old toilets should not have been demolished until suitable alternatives had been arranged” she expanded on this by saying “My preference would have been to accept the offer from LIDL to build new toilets but the Tories decided to do away with proper public toilets altogether”. She went on to say “I am pleased that the town council has been able to provide some relief to residents with the toilets at the Oakwood Centre for the last 6 months or so while Wokingham sort out this mess”
Phil Challis later commented that “This is a botch job to solve a problem the council got into with public toilets in Woodley, and to cap it all the design doesn’t even solve one of the main issues; the demolition of the original disabled toilet controlled by a RADAR key that could be used 24 hours a day. The library is not even open on a Wednesday”.
In the Planning Committee meeting Phil Challis said that he thought Wokingham Borough could have been more imaginative. He suggested that they consider locating the toilet elsewhere in the library where a disabled toilet can be accessed from an external RADAR controlled door and to build a proper library extension for library use to replace the space taken up by the toilet”