Loos to be lost

ANGER today greeted a decision to close a community's only public toilets, despite pleas to keep them open until their future is resolved.Town councillors want to take over the loos in Walton High Street, Felixstowe, and are planning to carry out their own survey of night-time use as part of negotiations to run them.

ANGER today greeted a decision to close a community's only public toilets, despite pleas to keep them open until their future is resolved.

Town councillors want to take over the loos in Walton High Street, Felixstowe, and are planning to carry out their own survey of night-time use as part of negotiations to run them.

But they have been left fuming because their plea for closure to be put on hold during the talks has been rejected by Suffolk Coastal.

“We have now been told these toilets will close imminently and that is disgraceful - I am very angry,” said Walton councillor Mike Deacon.


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“The town council has said it would like to take over the management of these toilets and asked for closure to be deferred until the matter could be decided, and we are clearly being ignored.

“These toilets are well-used, particularly at night when the pubs and clubs close and people are on their way home, and there are no other toilets in the area.

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He was sceptical at Suffolk Coastal's survey which found low usage. There were no night figures.

“It just seems the district council is hell-bent on closing them, yet I cannot understand the rush.”

The town council was told annual running costs of the loos are £4,425, but refurbishment and adaptation for disabled will cost £64,000.

Councillors were horrified at the cost of the refurbishment and are seeking alternative estimates.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said it was planned to close the loos on February 20 due to running costs and the needs for repairs.

It first wrote to Felixstowe Town Council in July last year. There had been correspondence and meetings but Felixstowe made it clear last month it could not reach a decision until April.

“Since last year when we announced our review of toilets, we have had successful discussions with two town councils to transfer the management of their toilets to them, but Felixstowe has not yet come to a decision,” said cabinet member Sherrie Green.

“Because of our tough financial constraints we are unable to wait any longer and so these toilets in Walton that are hardly used will close later this month. It could still be that they could yet reopen if the town council does agree to take them over,”

Do you think the toilets should close? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Factfile:

Suffolk Coastal has decided to make changes to several Felixstowe lavatory blocks because it would cost £283,000 to repair and maintain them over the next decade.

It has removed the loos at Clifflands, and agreed to close those in Allenby Park and Walton High Street.

Only the disabled facility is to remain open at the West End, Langer Park loos will only open during the summer season, and the men's next to the Town Hall will not re-open.

Toilets on The Triangle and in Ranelagh Road car park are to be improved, and new toilets are to be built on the south seafront.

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