Plan to close three West Norfolk public toilets outlined
Three of West Norfolk’s public toilet blocks look set to close for good under plans to be debated by councillors next week.
Officials say shutting facilities in Gaywood, Downham and Old Hunstanton would help to save tens of thousands of pounds on the cost of maintaining the existing portfolio.
But the plans do propose a reprieve for the Ferry Street facility in Lynn, which was first revealed last month, while two other sites are set to be transferred to new management.
The recommendations follow a working party review of the 22 sites currently maintained by the borough council and a programme of trial closures earlier this year.
The authority says it currently costs almost £375,000 a year to maintain them and the new plans would save between £30,000 and £60,000.
It concluded that blocks sited in or close to council car parks, transport hubs or tourist locations should remain open and be maintained under current arrangements.
They include the Ferry Street block in Lynn reverting to seven-day opening, following a trial weekday closure, because of its proximity to parking areas.
And a block in Holme would also be kept open, because of its location on popular walking routes and close to a Norfolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve.
But the report also recommends that the Gaywood block, along with those on the Howdale in Downham and Sea Lane, Old Hunstanton should be shut for good with a view to either disposal or demolition.
Another Downham block, in Wales Court, would be transferred to town council management, while one in Heacham would be taken over by the village’s sports and social club.
Meanwhile, two more blocks in the Walks in Lynn and on Downham’s Memorial Field would be maintained by the borough council under special expenses, the system through which the borough carries out functions that are fulfilled by parish councils elsewhere.
A report to the council’s environment and community panel, which will debate the issue next Tuesday, said: “It is fair to say that in the main those consulted would prefer for all toilets to be kept open and the cost to be met by the council.
“However, as was previously identified, unless toilets have a strategic requirement, for example, serving a car park or transport hub they should be charged locally.”
A further report will be presented to the borough council’s cabinet at a later date.