Albrighton is about to lose its Public Convenience on the Crown Car Park

As our members and those who came to our public meetings will know, the future of the Public Convenience is uncertain. A councillor explained that there was very little usage and questioned its retention but there is no sign on the High St to indicate a public convenience nor is there a sign in the car park pointing to a public convenience not is there even a sign on the building itself to say it is a public convenience and so it was no surprise that it was under used. Some in the audience said they had lived in Albrighton for several years and did not know it was a public convenience. At a show of hands at our public meetings, with more than 160 present, there was a 99% in favour of retaining the facility and many individuals spoke in its favour as long as the cost was not prohibitive.
The Civic Society has just learnt that the public convenience is about to be lost forever. We wish to provide our members and supporters with the facts of the situation as we know them:-

a) The Civic Society has been interested in what was happening to the public convenience for the last more than 2 years. We were always ready to support other organisations and our local councillors in their considerations of the matter. However our questions to the ex officio Albrighton Parish Council member of our committee did not provide any clarity.

b) During these years the matter was discussed at two of our public meetings and a show of hands was 99% for its retention. The Society’s committee thus was obliged to follow the matter on behalf of our members.

c) The Albrighton Traders Association supports the re-opening of the facility. They got £40,000 funding to erect sign boards around the village and each show there is a public convenience in the car park. The “brown signs” at the main roads passing by the village encourage drivers to come into the centre & show that there are “Services” to be found. After diverting into Albrighton they will not be pleased to find no public convenience.

d) LJC public meeting 3rd December 2014 – questions asked by many of the audience showed that the Parish Council appeared to have rejected any idea of seeing if could be retained but had not prepared any costed review of the matter. A councillor said that the building was part of the car park lease which Shropshire Council has with Marstons the owner. It seemed that the matter was far from clear.

e) The Society was then told the building is to be demolished so we contacted Marstons to find out more.

f) Marstons immediately offered to meet with us to explain their position. The public convenience was in a separate lease from that of the car park and not as reported in d). They showed us the building and provided a lot of information about the lease and dilapidations and the various options for how they could proceed. We said that as Shropshire Council did not wish to continue leasing the building that the only other statutory authority was the Parish Council but that we believed that they did not have funds to do any refurbishment or any development on the building but that it would be best if a discussion was held between Marstons and the Parish Council so that the Council would know all the information. Marstons said they could move forward in a manner which would mean that the building was ready for use as a public convenience without any money input from a new lessee and that they would be ready to make a favourable leasing arrangement to help the village.

g) The Society advised the Parish Council that we had some interesting information and attached a brief report but said that we would like to pass on the full information we had learnt for their consideration. We requested that our next Parish Council/Civic Society liaison meeting was held without delay so that we could pass on all the information and comments made by Marstons. We also asked Cllr Pate if he would also be able to attend as some of the information concerned Shropshire Council’s liability to make good the dilapidations following their decision to end their lease. We said that if the cost to lease and run the facility was expensive we would support the council’s decision if they decided not to proceed. However we hoped that the council would be pleased to have the full facts and make a proper costed review.

h) There was no response from the Parish Council.

i) Today, 9th March, we were copied in to an email which the Parish Council sent to Marstons saying
“I am writing with reference to the toilet block on the Crown car park, Albrighton. Albrighton Parish Council is aware that there has been some discussion with regard to the re-opening of this former public toilet over previous months or using the shell of the building for another purpose. Albrighton Parish Council has discussed this matter at some length but at its meeting in February, 2015 the Council confirmed that it had no funding available for any development of this building and did not seek involvement in discussions on its future for the foreseeable future.
I hope that this helps to clarify the situation with regard to the council’s position.”

j) The Society is very disappointed for a number of reasons:-

  • after alerting the council that we had information for them and asking them to meet with us they did not respond to us and wrote to Marstons without even telling us that they were doing so – so much for the liaison which was established.
  • the reason given “ had no funding available for any development of this building”.  As explained in f) above, no funding from the parish council was needed for development of the building and so their decision to reject was based on incorrect information.
  • they say “...and did not seek involvement in discussions on its future for the foreseeable future.” We would hope that our local council would be interested in what happens to a building which was in public use in our parish.
  • we would have thought that a sounding of residents by the council would be done before making any decisions


We regret having to relate this sorry tale but we owe it to our members and supporters to explain what has happened. It appears that Shropshire Council will be forced by Marston’s lease to renovate the building at Shropshire Council’s expense, something which seems not yet to have been understood. It could be ready for use as a public convenience. However the parish council seems to have decided not to consider the options.

For more information about the Society please see
www     or contact:
Peter Woodman –Chairman (T: 372225) 31/32 High St  or Rod Smith -Secretary (T: 372765)