Grant delayed after council is caught short over toilet cost

DECISION DELAY: Mirfield Town Council has said it needs more time to work out how much money it can contribute to the cost of the marquee at this year's Mirfield Show, which takes place Sunday August 18. (d779m234)
DECISION DELAY: Mirfield Town Council has said it needs more time to work out how much money it can contribute to the cost of the marquee at this year's Mirfield Show, which takes place Sunday August 18. (d779m234)

Councillors need more time to work out how they can support Mirfield’s flagship event while covering the costs of the town’s public toilets.

Organisers of Mirfield Show this week applied to Mirfield Town Council for a grant of around £6,500 for a marquee.

Historically, the town council has always paid for the marquee, but this year it might not be able to cover the whole cost because it has found itself suddenly strapped for cash.

Coun Alan Burton told Tuesday’s meeting: “Our reserves have been ploughed into the toilets so we are now strapped for cash.”

The town council stumped up £10,000 from its budget reserves to pay for the running of the toilets in Station Road after Kirklees Council threatened to close them.

However, Kirklees has yet to provide detailed running costs, so until the town council knows exactly how much they will come to, they have postponed making a decision on Mirfield Show’s grant.

Deputy council chairwoman Vivien Lees-Hamilton said: “It’s not a case of saying no. It’s a case of being prudent.”

Show committee chairwoman Karen Bullivant attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Council chairman David Pinder told her: “This council has taken a decision, I personally believe is the right one, that we would in some form take over responsibility financially for the toilets.

“But that, on a modest precept, is a big expense for us for the foreseeable future.”

He added: “Do not go away despondent. We will support you to the limit we can.”

Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “We just need to find out how many slices we will be able to get out of that cake.”

After the meeting, Mrs Bullivant said that without the town council’s support, the organisers of Mirfield Show would have to dip into their budget reserves.

“But any contribution would be greatly received,” she said. “We realise it’s a massive chunk of money and we are very grateful for the town council’s support.”

Tuesday’s meeting also heard how a lack of toilet roll in the public toilets had become an issue since Kirklees stopped maintaining them. Town councillors have paid for fresh rolls themselves.