Public to get a say on the future of public toilets in West Norfolk

King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council Toilet facility at the Tuesday Market Place King's Lynn ANL-160824-162315009
King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council Toilet facility at the Tuesday Market Place King's Lynn ANL-160824-162315009

Parish councils, town councils and West Norfolk residents are due to have their thoughts heard on plans for the future of public toilets.

Councillors debated the proposals, which include closing, privatising or transferring management of toilets, on Wednesday and agreed to take the proposals through to the consultation stage.

West Norfolk Council’s environment and community panel heard that the consultation period could last up to a year, to gather the opinions of those who the changes could affect.

Cabinet member for housing and community Adrian Lawrence said the proposals, if accepted, could save the council between £40,000 and £60,000 per year.

Councillors had mixed opinions on the proposals, which could see two of the public toilets in the borough closed for trial periods.

John Collop said: “I would expect somewhere like Lynn to provide toilet facilities when people spend money in our town.”

Chris Crofts said: “Anywhere you stop to have your coffee, you will be able to use their loo. I am absolutely convinced that people use the public toilets less and less.”

Patrick Rochford said: “There are people that need access to public toilets, they may have illnesses and find themselves needing the toilet. I don’t think we should be looking at closing any of them.”

The plans, which were made with help from a working party set up in August, recommend closing the Gaywood toilets completely for a six-month trial period, and closing the Ferry Street facility on weekdays for a three-month trial period.

The panel heard that members of the public would be directed to Gaywood library and the Corn Exchange respectively as alternatives during these periods.

Executive director Chris Bamfield said: “If it causes serious problems in a short period of time, then we will need to keep that under review.”

It is likely to be 2018 before any reforms are imposed, so other bodies can be consulted.