Trial closure of two King’s Lynn public toilets proposed

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
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Up to half of West Norfolk’s public toilets could be closed, privatised or transferred to alternative management under plans to be debated by councillors tomorrow.

Officials estimate the measures, which may also see charges introduced at two sites in Hunstanton, could save the borough council up to £60,000 a year if they are eventually implemented.

But it is likely to be 2018 before any reforms are imposed, so negotiations with other bodies can take place.

A working party was set up in August to examine ways to reduce the annual £374,000 cost of maintaining the council’s current 22 public toilets across the borough.

Its proposals have now been published ahead of a meeting of the council’s environment and community panel on Wednesday night.

The report recommends closing the Gaywood toilets completely for a six month trial period. Staff at the Gaywood library are said to be “willing” to allow public use of its facilities.

The group also proposes closing the Ferry Street facility on weekdays for a three month trial, with users being directed to the nearby Corn Exchange as an alternative.

However, the block would still be open at weekends and during public events.

The report further proposes that members of the council’s Lynn area consultative committee consider whether two blocks in the Walks should be funded through the special expenses system which covers services provided by parish councils in other areas.

Other recommendations include talks with parish councils and other groups about the potential transfer of responsibility for seven other toilet blocks away from the borough council.

Three of those sites are in Downham, at the Memorial playing field, the Howdale and Wales Court, where officials will investigate the cost of refurbishing the site.

The other four are in Burnham Market, Heacham, Holme and Old Hunstanton.

The report said: “Options are for parish councils to take on operation, toilets can be closed or remain open and charged as a local special expense.”

The report further recommends that the council considers leasing operation of the Central Promenade and Seagate toilets in Hunstanton to a private contractor.

It said: “The contractor would be able to introduce turnstiles and charges for admission.”

Officials expect the proposals would save between £40,000 and £60,000 per year, though the exact amounts would depend on the arrangements reached for each site.

It added: “Due to the need for consultation and negotiation with the various stakeholders, particularly parish councils and the King’s Lynn Area Consultative Committee, it is envisaged that most proposed changes are implemented with effect from 1st April 2018.

“Detailed arrangements would be reported in autumn 2017 for inclusion in the 2018/19 financial year and on an ongoing basis.”