Closed public toilets in Skipton bus station are to be reopened with immediate effect by Craven District Council.

Councillors also gave the go-ahead for a £49,000 revamp after the deputy leader admitted the decision to ‘permanently’ close the facility last month had been a mistake.

Coun Richard Foster (Cons), who faced criticism from some councillors as to why the toilets had been closed in the first place, said the choice of toilets had been wrong and the decision to close them had also been wrong.

“These toilets were hellishly expensive to run. It was an error to put them in and an error to close them too,” he said.

A door of one of the two fully automated toilets, had been vandalised along with some guttering and would need repair. The remaining one would be reopened immediately, he confirmed.

In the longer term, the toilets would be replaced with a total of eight, including two for disabled people, and a retail kiosk.

“We will put a building there that will provide more toilet facilities and also provide us with an income to offset the cost. We think this will be a proper, viable scheme,” said Coun Foster.

Maintenance of the facility will be the responsibility of the council.

Coun Paul English (Lib Dem) questioned the likely take-up of a retail unit so close to public toilets and within close walking distance of other shops.

He welcomed the immediate reopening, but called for a delay on what to do with the site.

“Who is going to take up a kiosk in a bus station right next to some toilets. There is no rush, let’s take a step back and think about this,” he said.

Coun English said it was all rather “mysterious” that three weeks ago the toilets had to be permanently closed because they were too expensive to run, but now they could be reopened.

Coun Philip Barrett (Ind) asked that the council put out a statement on its website, retracting the earlier “permanent” closure one. He added that he had found nothing on the policy committee’s forward planning list that mentioned the bus station toilets.