Swaffham toilet costs 'could spiral'
The cost of operating public toilets in Swaffham could 'spiral out of control' councillors have warned.Having been presented with a series of bills for both vandalism and general running costs over the past few months members of Swaffham Town Council have called into question the future of the town's public toilets.
The cost of operating public toilets in Swaffham could 'spiral out of control' councillors have warned.
Having been presented with a series of bills for both vandalism and general running costs over the past few months members of Swaffham Town Council have called into question the future of the town's public toilets.
At their monthly meeting on Wednesday members expressed doubt as to whether facility, on The Shambles next to the former tourist information centre, should stay open in the long term.
Ian Sherwood said: 'When we looked at taking over the toilets I advised strongly against it.
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'There are other ways of providing toilets to the public.
'I think we have really got to look at this again. It is just going to spiral out of control.'
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Deputy Mayor David Harman and others agreed with the sentiments but when chairman Shirley Matthews suggest that Mr Sherwood propose the future of the toilets be debated at next month's meeting he refused.
The council took over the responsibility for the toilets in a deal struck with Breckland Council in 2007 where Swaffham received a one off payment of �245,000 to cover its costs.
The toilets were reopened in March 2008 after a �115,000 revamp which left �130,000 to pay for running costs over the next ten years.
But since it reopened the public convenience has been subjected to regular and costly vandalism and bills for electricity and water have raised eyebrows amongst councillors.
Various items have been broken and on several occasions toilet walls have been smeared with excrement, something for which the police have refused to give a crime number, resulting in the council being unable to claim back the cleanup bill on its insurance.
Initially the council had planned to charge 20p for entry to the toilets but this idea was abandon last November after councillors were heard the cost of fitting slot machines to the cubicles would be between �562 and �784 per door.
Wednesday's meeting heard that the latest water bill had come in at over �1,000 and hand washing and drying units in toilets would also have to be serviced.
Councillors were given the option of paying �498 plus parts and VAT for a one off service or �1,414 plus VAT for a twice yearly service contract which would also see a 25pc discount on any parts needed.
Paul Derby questioned why the council had installed 'the Rolls Royce of hand washing' in the toilets.
David Wickerson said that hand washing facilities had to be provided while the toilets were open, a view shared by the majority of the council which voted to pay for the cost of a one off service.