PUBLIC toilets could return to Woodley by the end of the summer as part of a £100,000 project from the town council.

Politicians clashed when the old loos in the Headley Road car park were closed in 2009, with hundreds of residents signing a petition against the closure.

Woodley Town Council leader Keith Baker told the Chronicle that the new bespoke facility has been ordered, with the annual cost to the town council estimated at £20,000.

An additional £100,000 in funding was set aside from the Sandford Farm development, with residents being asked to pay 20p to use the toilets when they arrive.

Cllr Baker said: "We would have like to have achieved this much quicker, but there have been a number of obstacles to overcome.

"It is ridiculous. Something like this should not take five years, but it is not just a case of having funding and being able to place the order.

"We have had to go through planning stages and obtain the land from the borough council. We also had to make sure we allocated appropriate funds from the town council budget to pay for maintenance and cleaning."

An independent survey was carried out across the town and the vote came back in favour of bringing back the toilets.

It is hoped that charging 20p to use the toilets will discourage vandalism, one of the key reasons behind the decision to close the facility.

"It is not a lot of money, but we feel that making a little contribution will make people respect it more," cllr Baker added.

"If it was free then I would imagine vandalism would happen again. You would be amazed how often we encountered problems before.

"We conducted an external research project to steer this topic away from party politics and make certain that this was what Woodley needed."

The bespoke facilities have been earmarked for Crockhamwell Road and are legally required to be easily accessible for disabled residents.

Previous funds were used to install a public facility at the library, with other facilities available at The Oakwood Centre and The Chequers Pub.