Saving £15,000 by not spending a penny
By John HowardPUBLIC toilets in three towns could be closed as a council strives to find budget savings of more than £1million.Mid Suffolk District Council is reviewing the future of three public toilets in Stowmarket, Needham Market and Debenham - and will save £15,000 by shutting them.
By John Howard
PUBLIC toilets in three towns could be closed as a council strives to find budget savings of more than £1million.
Mid Suffolk District Council is reviewing the future of three public toilets in Stowmarket, Needham Market and Debenham - and will save £15,000 by shutting them.
It will now have talks with Stowmarket Town, Needham Market Town and Debenham Parish Councils to see if they wish to take over running the public toilets. Failing that, they are likely to be closed.
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The toilets under threat are in Barretts Lane, Needham Market, next to the recreation ground in Finborough Road, Stowmarket, and Little Back Lane in Debenham.
Mid Suffolk District Council has made the proposal after it was left with a £1m gap in its budget plans following the announcement of how much money it will get next year from the Government.
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Council leader, Roger Saunders, said: “We are consulting town and parish councils before making a final decision, but we seriously have to look at this.
“This indicates just how poor the grant from the Government is. We have an alternative, raising Council Tax by 10% or 15%, but we don't want to do that.”
Stowmarket mayor, Barry Salmon, was furious with the announcement and said: “This is part and parcel of Mid Suffolk's responsibilities and a public health issue.
“This will have a serious effect, people have to go to the toilet somewhere. The new administration at Mid Suffolk had thought they could run the authority more efficiently, perhaps they can't?”
Josephine Lea, clerk at Needham Market Town Council, said its members had reacted with shock to the threat to the town centre toilets.
She added if the toilets were taken on by the town council, they would need to be in good condition and some money go with them for their upkeep.
Town mayor Paula Batchelor said: “If Mid Suffolk is adamant they are closing and we feel strongly we want them, perhaps we could consider taking them on.”
Helen Huish, chairman of Debenham Parish Council, said it had been encouraged by the district council to attract more tourists and the public toilets - the only one in the village - were a valuable and well-used asset.