Public toilets will stay open

COUNCILLORS have bowed to mounting public pressure and abandoned proposals to axe half of the public toilets in Fenland. The council was due to be told yesterday that the £35,000 a year, which would have been saved by closing at least one toilet in each o

COUNCILLORS have bowed to mounting public pressure and abandoned proposals to axe half of the public toilets in Fenland.

The council was due to be told yesterday that the £35,000 a year, which would have been saved by closing at least one toilet in each of the market towns, had been found elsewhere.

It means victory for the town councils in Wisbech, Chatteris, March and Whittlesey, which all complained about the proposal to close the toilets.

Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland Council's portfolio holder for 'Streets Ahead', said the council's "good housekeeping" had enabled the money to be found to keep the loos open.


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He said only one of the threatened toilets, in Mount Pleasant cemetery, Wisbech, might still close, but councillors were being asked to decide the issue.

"I'm very happy we can now move on to other things," he said.

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The decision will draw a line under a public convenience review team set up the council last year, and headed by Councillor Ann Carlisle.

Councillors visited all the loos in the market towns and held meetings with neighbouring authorities to look at how they operated and maintained their public toilets.

Richard Cassidy, Fenland's director of environment, published the findings in April, and told councillors that provision of public conveniences was not a statutory duty.

But his comment that "alternative public conveniences are available in the towns" caused widespread criticism after he went on to the suggest people could use the council's one stop shops, district and county council buildings, pubs and commercial premises.

Mr Cassidy said this week that councillors would be making their final decision following the cabinet's request "that the town councils be consulted over the proposed closures".

The results of this consultation, he said, "will be reported back to members to help inform a final outcome of the review process.

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