Toilet troubles as land dispute delays plans

Artist's impression of Buckingham's public toilets
Artist's impression of Buckingham's public toilets

Plans for long-awaited town centre toilets have been hit by delays after a U-turn by district councillors.

Buckingham Town Council has submitted a planning application for a toilet block on Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) owned land at Cornwall’s Meadow car park after receiving a verbal agreement from AVDC for the use of the land, agreeing a design and awarding a tender.

Funding from the New Homes Bonus to cover the estimated £125,000 cost of the scheme had also been secured.

But at a meeting between the town’s district councillors and AVDC last week, they were told AVDC was no longer willing to lease the piece of land, which is near the recycling bins.

District councillor Howard Mordue told the Advertiser: “We met the district councillors to inform them we were unable to give them permission to put the toilets where they wanted.”

He added the site was not in a safe place for disabled people to cross the road to reach the toilets and the strip of land could potentially form part of a valuable ‘ransom strip’, which could be used to earn AVDC a substantial sum if a developer wished to gain access to land at the rear of 13 High Street.

Mr Mordue said AVDC is offering an alternative site for the toilets, beside the community centre building on the area of shrubbery opposite Waitrose.

He said: “There is a monetary side, but particularly there is a safety issue.

“We’ve offered an alternative, which is much more suitable. They could put what they proposed there, if they wished to.

“Overall, it’s far more convenient for everyone if it’s outside the community centre.”

Town and district councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “I think the district council is making a mistake.

“I think they should consider the long-term interests of the town. The toilets ought to come first.”