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November 2005 

Closure of public access to Green Dragon toilets in the Bishopric

A notice has just appeared outside the toilets attached to the Green Dragon pub in the Bishopric stating that they have been closed for refurbishment and that public access to them must now be made through the pub's bar.

Strange as it may seem, the public has a right to gain access to these toilets from Albion Way without going through the bar.  This results from an agreement entered into with the Council by the present pub owners' predecessor King & Barnes in the 1990s.

K&B were allowed to demolish the existing public toilets in Albion Way to enlarge the brewery lorry park, in exchange for the permanent public right to use the Green Dragon public house toilets which were to have free access from Albion Way.  This agreement still has legal force with the brewery's successors, Hall & Woodhouse.



The Society is concerned to protect the public's right to continue to use these toilets and is not happy at the way this episode is unfolding.

Firstly, the notice itself is misleading. The toilets have not been closed for refurbishment.  Closure of the public entrance is at the landlord's request, due to his concerns at their use by drug users.

The closure - supported by the police and, it appears, by the Council themselves - is said to be temporary for six months to enable the interested parties of brewery, police and Council to "monitor the situation".

This seems to be a heavy-handed solution to the problem.  Why can't the toilets be inspected every hour to keep an eye on any abuse of them in the same way that Swan Walk does so effectively with their public toilets?

The Society feels that the public's rights in this matter are being disregarded, particularly as the closure has come just before Christmas - peak time for shoppers and visitors to our town.

How is the Council going to provide suitable alternative public toilet facilities at this end of the town to those people who cannot or will not venture through a bar to get to them?
What about the long term solution?

Peter Tobutt