With Iceland now joining Marks & Spencer, Lidl and others at the Spires Retail Park, Armagh Council is making a renewed effort to try and get much-needed public toilet provision on the Moy Road site.
The issue, which has been going on for years now, was once again raised at a meeting of the council by SF Councillor Cathy Rafferty, who said she had received numerous complaints about the lack of public conveniences over the busy Christmas shopping period.
She said a temporary portaloo needed to be provided on site “as a matter of urgency”.
DUP Councillor Freda Donnelly agreed and said it was the council that was taking the blame for this situation. She said that temporary toilets similar to those currently provided at Dobbin Street should be provided at the Spires site.
Carol Corvan, Strategic Director of Corporate Services and Governance, explainet the council did not own any land at the site and therefore did not have any right to locate temporary toilets there.
Councillor Rafferty said she was sure that if they approached the developer they would be more than happy to allow the council to provide temporary toilets on the site at an agreed location.
Independent Unionist Councillor Paul Berry said they needed to be cautious not to set a precedent in providing public toilets on non-council owned sites, and stressed that it should be the responsibility of the developer who profited from the operation of this complex to provide public toilet facilities. He also questioned who would clean and maintain these toilets if provided.
Councillor Rafferty said the council was responsible for public toilet provision throughout the city and district, and currently there was no public toilet provision anywhere in this area of the city.
Clerk and Chief Executive John Briggs advised that they were well aware of this ongoing problem and had made several attempts to discuss the matter with the developer.
He said it was a complex situation which would require planning permission, among other things. He said it would be much better to try and resolve this issue in conjunction with the current owner of the site, and that they would once again attempt to contact the owners and look at all possible options for resolving the issue.
It was agreed then that the council should pursue this issue with the owner and bring back full options to a future meeting.
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