Local group wants to convert toilet block in Ipswich park
- Credit: Paul Geater
Community campaigners are hoping to take over a redundant toilet block in an Ipswich park to turn it into a community space and possibly a kiosk for visitors.
The North West Ipswich Big Local Trust (BLT) wants to take over the block at the Norwich Road entrance to Whitehouse Park which have been replaced by new eco-toilets.
The borough council had planned to demolish the block but BLT chair Lorraine Ganuszko hoped to persuade them to allow its conversion.
She said: "We still have a substantial amount in our account (from the lottery award that founded the BLT) and converting this would be a very worthwhile project.
"We have created a skatepark here and there is a need for more facilities. We could convert this quite easily - it already has a water and electricity supply so we hope they will allow us to take it over."
The BLT has spoken to the council but is still waiting to hear if its plans are likely to get a positive reaction.
Marion Ransby from the BLT has carried out a survey of local people and found that more than 150 - including several organisations - would welcome the development.
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She said: "This really is something that would be welcomed and used. And it could be converted at no cost to the council. It is just that we need their backing because they own the building."
The BLT was set up in 2012 after the area was one of 150 across the country to get £1million each from the National Lottery to support local community initiatives.
It has already helped to create the new skate park area in Whitehouse Park but it still has some of its original funding available for projects like converting the toilet block.
There has been vandalism in the area and the BLT has been told a CCTV camera might be installed - they suggested it could be linked to a refurbished building.
But they said it would not make sense with going to the expense of drawing up detailed plans for conversion without an indication that the borough would agree to it being taken over.
"It would be cheaper than demolition and would leave the community with a new facility," said Ms Ganuszko.
Portfolio holder for the environment and parks Phil Smart said the department was aware of the request but it was one of a number of projects that were being worked on. He did not know at this stage when a decision might be made.