D-Day looms for Swaffham's toilets

THE future of Swaffham's only public toilets should finally decided at a special meeting next week to which the public are being urged to attend.

THE future of Swaffham's only public toilets should finally decided at a special meeting next week to which the public are being urged to attend.

The controversial issue has become such a major talking point in the town that an extraordinary meeting is being held at the town council offices in the Town Hall next Wednesday , at 6.45pm.

Town clerk Richard Bishop said he expects a decision on the future provision of toilet facilities in Swaffham to be made at the end of the meeting.

He predicted the town's business community and the general public to be well represented.

Because of the importance of the issue, the meeting will be adjourned for 15 minutes to allow members of the public to make points and raise issues.

Mr Bishop stressed this open slot is not intended to be a question and answer session because the subject has already had extensive public consultation. Any unresolved matters raised in that open session will be dealt with at the end of the meeting.

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The public toilets working group were due to meet last night to finalise their report which will then go out to councillors. The report, which will include the working groups' recommendations on the toilet issue, will form the basis of the discussion at next week's meeting.

Mr Bishop said that the provision of public toilets in the town has been well debated and there have been three formal meetings as well as 'behind-the-scenes' talks.

'This has been a complete study of public toilet provision in the town and I can assure you that no stone has been left unturned. I am fairly confident that a decision will be made at the end of the meeting on January 13,' he said.

The town's only public toilets, located next to the old tourist information office on the Market Place, have remained open as usual while the debate over their future has continued.

In October, following a review of the facility, the town council voted to investigate whether it would be more cost effective to close the public toilets and pay businesses in the town to open their loos to the public.

A specially created working group has been looking at all aspects of what Mr Bishop describes as an 'emotive issue' and about 20 businesses in the town have been contacted and asked for their views.

But the proposals have upset some Swaffham residents. They claim that removing the public toilets would be to the town's detriment because it will deter visitors and have an impact on tourism and retail.

Swaffham mayor David Harman has previously stressed that he is aware that there are strong opinions on the subject and assured all interested parties that their views will be taken into account in coming to a decision.

The town council is under no statutory obligation to provide public toilets in the town.

Entrance to the council offices within the Town Hall for the January 13 meeting will be via Cley Road and not the front entrance of the building on London Street. More information can be obtained by contacting the town council on 01760 722922 or e-mail at enquiries@swaffhamtowncouncil.gov.uk