A BLOCK of new public toilets, which will be fully accessible to the disabled, will be opening in Northwich town centre in the coming weeks.

The facility, which will be located on the site of the outdoor space, will not be a permanent feature, but will be there until the wider development of Weaver Square takes place.

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Speaking to the Guardian, Cllr Kate Cernik, who has been involved in the scheme along with fellow councillors Sam Naylor and Andrew Cooper, said the town had desperately needed to replace the toilets lost when fire ripped through the old market back in January last year.

She said: "Since we had the awful fire at the market, we obviously lost the toilets that were there too.

"There are obviously plans to re-develop the whole of Weaver Square, which meant there was a dilemma when it came to replacing those toilets.

"A permanent structure would obviously come at a substantial cost and with those wider development plans still not known, we listened to what residents and local market traders were saying.

"We then worked with Cheshire West and Chester, Northwich T|own Council and Northwich BID to try and come up with a solution.

"With some additional funding secured, we were now able to put these toilets in place."

Northwich Guardian: Artist impression of proposed new toilet facilities.

An artist impression of the proposed new toilet facilities.

Although a temporary fixture, like the outdoor space itself, it is unknown at this stage exactly how long the toilets will be in situ for, but they will provide a much needed solution to the town and its plans to become a destination for all.

"We recognise for many people it can be distressing," added Cllr Cernik.

"I know there are toilets over at Asda and at Memorial Court, but not having any in the town wasn't really acceptable.

"We (along with Cllrs Naylor and Cooper) pushed hard to have them put there.

"In the longer term, hopefully we will be investing in a permanent solution and I am really pushing for us to have a proper disabled toilet with what's called a changing room facility.

"I would love to see that in the town centre because I would like for Northwich to become a very disabled-friendly town.

"We have a lot of schools around the Northwich area that have children with special needs so ensuring that families have access to all the facilities in the town is a really high priority.

"But obviously we have to balance that with resources.

"We are absolutely committed to fighting to have high calibre disabled toilets in the town on a permanent basis."

After two newly planted trees were snapped in half by vandals at the site of the new space over the weekend, Cllr Cernik said she hoped the new facility would be enjoyed by all and not ruined by a mindless few.

"Across the country and the borough there seems to have been a consierable increase in anti-social behaviour.

"If you want a personal explanation, I think young people have had a really tough time during lockdown and unfortunately a tiny minority are going a bit wild.

"We're working closely with our police colleagues to clamp down on it as much as possible.

"We do have CCTV and we will come down hard on those who partake in mindless vandalism.

"My plea for the general public and for parents is to increasingly take note of where your children are and what they're doing.

"It's a responsibility for everybody to tackle this problem.

"As we begin to open up after lockdown, we want to offer young people much more in the way of events and opportunities in recreational activities.

"Many of our young people are fabulous and I don't want them all tarred with the same brush

"If we all pull together I think we can make Northwich thrive."