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West Norfolk Council calls for rethink on toilet closures

Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn

Council chiefs have recommended a rethink on proposed plans to close three of West Norfolk’s public toilet blocks.

West Norfolk Council officials were against a proposal that suggests shutting facilities in Gaywood, Downham and Old Hunstanton at Environment and Community Panel on Tuesday.

But they voted on a recommendation to close one of The Walks’ toilets, preferably those closest to the football ground, in order to save public conveniences in Gaywood.

Sandra Collop, who put forward the recommendation, said: “Regarding the library, the positive point was that they were very concerned to start with, but more people have become members because they have been going to the toilet.

“I also spoke this afternoon to a person at Norfolk County Council who is in charge of the library services at Gaywood. They have had quite a lot more costs in the last six months which have fallen onto them from extra loo paper, soap, their water bill has gone up, cleaning the actual toilets, and repairs.

“Therefore, there is no more cost to the council but there is to the library service.”

The closure 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.

The panel also voted on a recommendation to keep Old Hunstanton’s toilets open for another 12 months while they explore funding options, but voted to close those in Howdale, Downham.

Richard Bird said: “Money is being spent in Hunstanton and it’s more money than I have seen in a very long time. It seems to be a retrograde step to be spending money on developing a facility which is a good return place for people to enjoy and visit in a leisure and tourism way, and then to be taking away one of those facilities.

“Adjacent to this block of toilets is the lifeboat station. The lifeboat station does a tremendous job across the whole sea area, and one of the ways they raise money is by opening their lifeboat station and getting people to donate there and then.

“Along from this block of toilets there are a lot of beach huts and to the best of my knowledge none of them have any sanitation at all. We have got possibly hundreds of chalets that have got no visible way of relieving the human need. I would appeal to this council that this is a short-term look.”

The panel’s recommendations are set to be discusses by cabinet at a later date.

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