Devon

Barbrook toilets become village media hub

Public toilets in a north Devon village have been turned into a media hub with an information room and wi-fi hotspot.

The facilities in Barbrook were due to close after Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council said it could no longer afford the £7,500 a year to run them.

Villagers set up the Barbrook Facilities Trust and raised £45,000 to refurbish and run the toilets.

As well as public toilets, the facilities also include a book exchange and solar panels.

'Big learning curve'

Trustee Deborah Hatcliffe said: "It's for all the villagers and people that go through, like delivery drivers and bus drivers, we're also in Exmoor and on a walking route.

"We just felt that if it wasn't available, where would people go?"

The trust said it hoped the new facility would become the centre of the village with its community information room which has a computer, maps and information leaflets as well as plans for a car-share scheme.

Ms Hatcliffe said the trust was managing to run the scheme for £800 a year by voluntarily cleaning it, buying hand-dryers for the same amount the council was paying to hire a dryer each month and by selling up to £500 of energy to the national grid.

She said: "Everyone said how nice it was that we achieved what we set out to do. It was a lot of hard work and a big learning curve."

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