LAST autumn, South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) was forced to wash its hands of several public toilets, claiming it could no longer afford to maintain them all.

While SLDC continues to manage “priority” conveniences, more than half a dozen have closed with others being run by community partnerships and parish councils.

One such partnership, Gowan Stop and Go Group – a collective of Staveley residents – has just taken over the running of the village’s public conveniences, at Abbey Square.

The toilet block, opposite the village hall, had been earmarked for closure by SLDC. Staveley Parish Council also announced that it could not afford the annual £10,000 cost to keep the facility open.

But council clerk Stan Simpson told The Westmorland Gazette that the parish council would be considering awarding a grant towards the group’s activities.

Following the acquisition of the lease from SLDC, the group asked businesses in the village to help and they have raised enough money to keep the block open short-term.

Their bid to attract financial support will be a continuous one with a long-term aim of securing its future for at least two years.