Councils allay fears of residents being caught short despite public toilet numbers drop

The public toilet block at Beccles Quay. Picture: Nick Butcher

The public toilet block at Beccles Quay. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Councils have moved to allay concerns of a public toilet shortage amid reports the majority of Norfolk and Waveney has seen a reduction in the number of major council-maintained public toilets since 2010.

Five out of the region's eight district or borough councils maintain fewer public toilets when compared to 2010, with Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Waveney District Council dropping by six from 26 to 20 and 28 to 22 respectively.

The figures, obtained by the BBC, also show North Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council stopped running four of their toilets, with South Norfolk losing two. Only three councils saw no change.

In Lowestoft, public toilets were transferred to Lowestoft Town Council when they came into existence last year.

Adrian Lawrence, cabinet member for housing and community at Kings Lynn and West Norfolk District Council, said the number of public toilets in West Norfolk was well above the average in the UK.

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He said: 'We are well within the average. We have to remember that there are other organisations like supermarket and cafes have toilets.

'The footfall is very low in urban areas where the public toilets were not needed, we took the decision to close them.

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He added: 'But this meant focusing on public toilets we do have to keep them in the best condition we can.

'This is all public money, we have to watch what we spend and we have to be sensible, I understand some people don't like it but we have to do our best.'

A spokesperson for Waveney District Council said: 'The number of public toilets maintained by Waveney District Council has remained the same for many years however following the creation of Lowestoft Town Council and Oulton Broad Parish Council, we have recently transferred responsibility for some facilities in these locations over to the new councils.

'Throughout the rest of Waveney, the number of public toilets we maintain remains unchanged. Although costly, providing well-maintained public conveniences in our coastal and market towns is essential for residents and visitors alike.'

Lowestoft Town councillor Neil Coleby said: 'No closure of public toilets should take place unless there has been a full investigation into the options and a public consultation has taken place.'

Number of toilets maintained by council between 2010 and 2018

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council: Dropped from 26 to 20.

Waveney District Council: Dropped from 28 to 22.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council: Dropped from 21 to 17.

North Norfolk District Council: Dropped from 42 to 38.

South Norfolk Council: Dropped from 7 to 5.

Norwich City Council: Stayed at 17.

Breckland District Council: Stayed at 9.

Broadland District Council: Stayed at 5.

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