Council figures lift the lid on public toilet use in the Fens

March Toilets.

March Toilets. - Credit: Archant

SPENDING a penny in the Fens has not been flushed with success when it comes to raising money after figures revealed at the current rate it will take 154 years to pay for the town toilets make over.

March Toilets.

March Toilets. - Credit: Archant

A visitor breakdown has lifted the lid on how much the new toilets have been used and it has shown that in the first year the 20p-a-go facilites have raised £2,590.

March Toilets.

March Toilets. - Credit: Archant

Public toilets in March, Chatteris, Wisbech and Whittlesey were last year treated to a massive modernisation programme costing a total of £400,000.

The work replaced run-down vandalised public conveniences with swanky, modern indiviudal toilet units that people must pay to use.

Fenland District Council said the toilets were not introduced to generate money but rather they were intended to be modern, clean and safe, family-friendly facilities that local people and visitors rightly expected in the four Fenland towns.

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“They were not introduced to generate significant income or intended to be self financing.” said a council spokesman.

“Public toilets are expensive to run and maintain.

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“The ones we previously had were very run down and were a regular target for vandalism and anti social behaviour.

“Evidence from other places shows that where toilets are locked and a nominal fee is charged for their use, people respect them more, there is less damage and anti social behaviour is significantly reduced.

Enthusiasm for the project had not gone down the pan, the spokesman said, but rather the toilets had received a very positive response from staff and local people.

“The new toilets have been very well used - nearly 25,000 times from the time they were opened last summer until the end of March this year,” the spokesman said.

One 20p would sometimes be shared around a group of friends or a family, the spokesman said, which is why they had not bought in quite as much revenue as might be expected from visitor numbers.

The counting system registers a visitor for each time it locks - often the door is held open after one user has finished and another person goes in.

Toilet figures

Chatteris opened May 2012

Visitors 3,138

Income £359

March opened June 2012

Visitors 8,853

Income £947

Wisbech opened June 2012

Visitors 9,367

Income £947

Whittlesey opened September 2012

Visitors 3,056

Income £349

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