Bowlers who need to spend a penny in Sandbach Park could use a waterless loo in future.
More than £11,000 of public money has been requested for the purchase of the toilet, which would be located near the lower bowling green and requires only the sun and wind to function.
Those behind the application believe that it could pave the way for similar loos in Sandbach’s other green spaces, allowing people to spend more time outdoors.
Sandbach Partnership put in a grant request for £11,500 to the town council on behalf of Sandbach Park Bowling Club. The KL2 is a fully accessible waterless toilet. and Sandbach Park Steering Committee. The overall cost would be £13,000.
The application was discussed at last Monday’s meeting of the town council’s Finance Committee which heard that the bowling club had been requesting its own toilet facilities for many years.
Addressing councillors, treasurer Anthony Chaddock, who had been a club member for 65 years, said the bowling club was “unique” as it was “the only one in the whole of Cheshire, north Staffordshire and most of Greater Manchester that hasn’t got a toilet facility adjacent to the green”.
He explained that the club was given a quote last year for a toilet facility costing £97,000.
Mr Chaddock said the cheaper water-free version was already located at the allotments in Crewe, which Sandbach Park Bowling Club members had already visited.
He told councillors: “It’s like a cabin with a revolving door. It’s a composting toilet. Members were a little bit apprehensive about this but after we had seen it, it allayed our fears somewhat.”
A brochure for the toilet with the grant application describes it as the Karuba KL2 with urinal. It says the waterless toilet is “easy to use, easy to run and perfect for remote locations, only needing sun and wind to function”.
Said Mr Chaddock: “We’ve got the chance now to put an aesthetically pleasing toilet building by the side of our pavilion. You could use similar ones in other places at a convenient price.”
The grant application said: “Looking towards the future, this facility could be a great test case to use this technology in other green spaces within Sandbach, especially if it encouraged people to spend longer periods of time utilising the green spaces that we are so fortunate to have.”
It explained that the bowling green was not only used by the bowling club but also Sandbach u3a, around 1,000 residents.
“Membership is increasing all the while but mostly we’ve got a big u3a membership that uses our green,” Mr Chaddock said.
While councillors were in favour of the toilet design there were concerns that it could be damaged.
Coun Nick Adams said: “I think it’s a great idea. I’m just concerned about the opportunity for it to get pulled to shreds by people who like doing that sort of stuff – vandalism.”
Coun Gill Merry said: “As I read through the proposal the first thing that came to my mind was vandalism, but I think further on in the proposal it does deal with that issue.”
Coun Richard Hovey had a couple of concerns. He said: “They only appear to have a single estimate come through. I realise there are not a lot of suppliers around. This one appears to be coming from France.”
Coun Hovey described the amount of funding requested is a “substantial amount” and that the figure was too big for the Finance Committee to approve straight away.
“Clearly a composting toilet is much more economic proposition than a fully plumbed constructed building and is a fraction of the cost,” he said.
“There was a commitment made to the community all those years ago and it does appear to be a very well used bowling green. I’m just uneasy because of the lack of quotes for the cost of the work.”
The bowling club, with the assistance of Sandbach Partnership, would fund-raise the amount necessary for installing any additional security access requirements, to ensure the toilet facility was not vandalised.
The application said that once the toilet was installed Ansa, Cheshire East Council’s wholly owned company, which carries out grounds maintenance, would be responsible for its upkeep.
The Finance Committee can only approve grants of up to £5,000. Councillors voted unanimously to recommend the £11,500 application for approval to the full council, which met on Tuesday, after Coun Gill Merry said “providing that the planning is ok and that Cheshire East is going to maintain it, and (pay) the insurance, as well.”