Council urged not to ‘penny pinch’ over West Norfolk toilets
A Lynn town centre toilet block could be set to reopen under new council proposals.
Officials have concluded there is “no real benefit” in partially shutting the block in Ferry Street, following a trial.
But another threatened facility in Gaywood is likely to be recommended for closure when final proposals are published next month.
A working party was set up last summer to look at ways of reducing the cost of maintaining the council’s current 22 public toilets, which were estimated to cost around £375,000 a year, across the borough.
An update on the work was delivered at a meeting of the council’s King’s Lynn area consultative committee (KLACC) on Tuesday.
Following the meeting, Adrian Lawrence, the authority’s cabinet member for housing, said: “It is being recommended that the Ferry Street toilets are reopened as usage levels are fairly high, and as they need to be available during events for there is no real benefit in closing them on a part-time basis.
“The facilities at Gaywood are often vandalised and as a result closed on a regular basis. Usage is low as people tend to prefer using nearby facilities such as the library. These have been closed since March this year and we have only had two comments about it.
“The recommendation is that they should be closed and the evidence would seem to support that.”
Officials have also stressed that no decisions have yet been taken and the issue will go to the council’s cabinet following a meeting of its environment and community panel on October 10.
But, after the KLACC meeting, one of the committee’s members, Patrick Rochford, took to social media to say he was unhappy the authority was “proposing the closure of public toilets in a bid to penny pinch”.
He added yesterday: “I am glad the trial is resulting in some of the toilet closures being reconsidered.
“While we might not have a statutory duty to provide public toilets, we do have a moral duty and should do all we can to keep them open.”
The British Toilet Association, a body which promotes high standards of public lavatories, has previously called for closures to be avoided wherever possible and suggested “modest charges” could be introduced to help maintain them.