SUCCESSFUL communication has led to a ‘win-win situation’ for residents of and visitors to Allerford.

The beginning of the year spelt uncertainty for the village’s prime attractions, the West Somerset Rural Life Museum and Allerford Forge, because of the possibility of their visitors not being able to spend a penny.

The National Trust, which owns the Holnicote Estate, shut the public toilets which serviced the museum on January 2 as part of plans to extend the neighbouring Reading Room block, leaving it without suitable facilities for visitors.

Curator John Skudder feared this would leave the venue unable to fulfil health and safety rules and was dissatisfied withthe trust’s lack of communication.

But since the County Gazette ran an article on the issue in January, things have improved significantly.

A constructive meeting this month between the trust, Selworthy and Minehead Without Parish Council, the Reading Room, Allerford village hall, Holnicote Tenants’ Association, Allerford Forge and the museum resulted in the immediate re-opening of the existing public toilets.

Mr Skudder said: “Thanks to the generosity of the National Trust and the Reading Room, temporary toilets will be provided during the building alterations, which will incorporate the old public toilet area into a new extension of the Reading Room buildings.

“On completion of the extension, the new toilets will also be made available to the public on a permanent basis with cleaning, insurance and so on being organised by the Allerford community.

“We are obviously very pleased as we were concerned about the effect it would have on us and other organisations in Allerford.

“Everyone is pitching in with offers of help and it seems to have brought the community together.”

Parish council chairman Penny Webber added: “This will benefit the whole village – not only the forge and museum, but also the Post Office, shop and, of course, the Reading Room.

“It’s really a win-win situation for the village and everyone is doing their bit. It has been a case of a little country village working together.

“The facilities in the middle of the village will benefit everyone, while catering for our working forge and the museum, which has always been wonderful.”