COMMUNITY minded villagers have since the start of the year been ensuring the public toilets in Gargrave are kept not only open and spick and span.

Gargrave Needs A Toilet (GNAT) was formed after Gargrave Parish Council which had been responsible for the facilities since Craven District Council handed them over in 2010, said it could no longer afford to run them.

The toilets, one of the last remaining free, public conveniences on the A65 between Harrogate and the Lakes, were costing the parish council £12,000 per year to run, or a quarter of its total precept of the Council Tax, and there was also an hefty repair bill expected connected to the wall next to the River Aire.

They are however, very well used, not only by residents, but by visitors to the village, including coach parties on their way through, walkers, including those on the Pennine Way, and cyclists.

But the quickly formed GNAT, including Craven ward councillor Simon Myers, has sorted out a 18 strong volunteer cleaning team, to wipe out the costs of paying a dedicated cleaner, and has set up a Go Fund Me Page , which has already raised more than £1,500.

The group says it is also looking into reducing the cost of its water bill by investigating ways of making the toilets more water efficient.

Meanwhile, a donation box inside the toilets to help pay for the cost, which currently raises between £1,500 and £2,000 per year.

It’s Facebook page has also gained it support, including from ‘Walking Englishman’, who posted on the group page: “Gargrave in North Yorkshire is a popular village for walkers and for all types of visitors to the Yorkshire Dales. I pass through the village often and I have also set off on walks from there on some occasions. “

Group members hold their meetings on the Summerseat, directly outside the toilets, and volunteers ensure the facilities are opened every morning, closed at night and kept clean and tidy.

Freya Jackson, group member, said: “The group is determined to keep these facilities open, and since the foundation of a Go Fund Me page we have received significant help so far. “

The group also plans to hold a fundraising evening in the village hall on April 3.

People can help keep the toilets open and running by making donations via: or a Bank Transfer to GNAT (Account number: 53123018 Sort code: 01-07-93). Its Facebook page is: