Residents create a stink over superloo

ANXIOUS residents who fear their traditional public toilets will be replaced by a space age "super-loo" have been assured no final decision to install the hi-tech convenience has been made.

ANXIOUS residents who fear their traditional public toilets will be replaced by a space age "super-loo" have been assured no final decision to install the hi-tech convenience has been made.

People living in lower Wivenhoe - who have already been left reeling by having their conservation area streets daubed with thick yellow lines - are concerned a proposed council revamp of facilities will see the installation of a stainless steel, self-cleaning, unisex toilet.

The town's current brick-built conveniences, which are situated in a car park by the King George V playing fields and comprise ladies' and gents' sections, are in a poor state of repair.

But many residents feel that instead of spending more than £50,000 on new facilities the council should pay to have the existing ones revamped for less.


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Wivenhoe town councillor Tom Roberts said: "It's a waste of money. Colchester Borough Council, who are responsible for the toilets, have proposed we should have an all-singing and dancing job.

"The cost is something like £64,000, and the yearly maintenance will be double what it is now. This new replacement will only allow one person to use it at a time. But when we have a major event on the playing fields, the existing toilets get a lot of use.

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"It really doesn't seem a terribly good idea, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. The toilets are in a conservation area. Do we really want one of these plastic and metal jobs there? It doesn't sound right to me," added Mr Roberts, who is also secretary of local residents' association The Wivenhoe Society.

The proposed super-loo, largely made of stainless steel, would feature special internal blue lights to deter injecting drug users by making it impossible for them to see their veins.

It would also open its doors automatically after a set period of time to stop people loitering or sleeping inside.

Colchester Borough Council's engineering and projects manager, Geoff Harris, confirmed that a recommendation to demolish the existing toilets and install a modern, sophisticated unisex model had been made by officers.

But he said that the proposal had not yet been put out for consultation, and that the borough would listen to representations made by organisations like Wivenhoe Town Council and The Wivenhoe Society.

He said: "It is not a done deal at all. Everything is up for grabs. If people come forward with alternatives, we will look at those."

Terry Sutton, cabinet member with responsibility for public conveniences, said: "I think people are getting a little bit up in arms before we've actually done the consultation.

"Having had complaints about the facility which is there – which is of poor quality – certainly something needs to be done.

"It is possible we could just revamp that. We are looking at all the options. We will listen to the town council and take their views on board."

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