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Hotel owners slam Swaffham toilet plan

PUBLISHED: 08:28 27 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:31 08 July 2010

THE owners of a boutique hotel in Swaffham have added their voice to calls to keep the town's only public toilets open.

THE owners of a boutique hotel in Swaffham have added their voice to calls to keep the town's only public toilets open.

Last month, following a review of the facility, Swaffham Town Council voted to shut the toilets, which are situated next to the former tourist information centre just off Market Place.

It is currently investigating the possibility of a scheme which would see businesses paid to allow passers-by to use their toilets and the public loos will remain open until this has been looked into fully.

But the prospect of seeing the toilets closed has angered many in the town who say it will deter visitors and have an impact on both tourism and retail.

Several residents spoke out against the idea at the council's November meeting and others have written to both the council and local newspapers.

Now Les Scott, who along with his wife Vanessa, owns Strattons Hotel in Swaffham, has added the business to the list of those who want to see the toilets remain and written a letter to the town council.

In it he says he is writing to express his “deep disappointment” over the decision.

He says: “I think the toilets are a necessity if Swaffham is to move forward as a tourist destination and vital to making the Saturday Market work.

“It is also a facility which shows any public transport operators that we as a town are committed to welcoming visitors. The toilets are actually a public amenity and a powerful symbol of civilisation in our town.

Mr Scott goes on to say that he is surprised the council is not looking at ways to reduce the amount of vandalism and high energy use and did not fully weigh up the pros and cons of taking on the toilets before taking them on.

“I am not convinced of the morality of converting the building into a rentable property by using grant money specifically for running the toilets,” he adds.

“We have already lost our purpose build TIC building under similar circumstances and I for one do not want to see our toilets become an expensive extension to a taxi office.”

The council is due to discuss the issue again at its monthly meeting in January.

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