'Sex toilets' to stay open

CONCERNED parish councillors have called on police and council chiefs to take a tough stance over illicit sexual activity in public toilets after voting to keep the facility open.

Dave Gooderham

CONCERNED parish councillors have called on police and council chiefs to take a tough stance over illicit sexual activity in public toilets after voting to keep the facility open.

The “illicit behaviour” in toilets in Long Melford was discussed by councillors last night after police launched an investigation into a string of incidents.

Councillors heard that the village had become a hive of illegal activity after the toilets were mentioned on a national website.


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But they agreed that closing the toilets in Cordell Road, following an earlier decision to shut the men's toilets at the Rodbridge picnic site, would severely hit Melford's vital tourism industry.

Their recommendation will now be passed on to Babergh District Council, which maintains the toilets and will make a final decision on their future.

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Linda Goodban, council clerk, said: “Members felt it was unfair to the majority of well-meaning citizens to close the toilets. In the current economic climate, we feel closing centrally-placed toilets could impact on the tourism trade when we have coaches of people visiting. The employment situation in Long Melford is precarious enough without any further hardship.

“Councillors were horrified to hear how extreme the situation has become with these toilets being advertised on a national website.

“But there was also some tired resignation that this is an argument we have had for years and one that periodically raises it head. “Some felt that it will come back again but we have to be seen to be pro-active and to show these people that this behaviour won't be tolerated in the local community.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that police had launched an investigation into incidents in the public toilets following a string of complaints from parents at the nearby primary school.

Ms Goodban said: “We agreed to request to Babergh to not close them but ask the district council to step up improvements by removing obscene graffiti and bring new partitions in as the current ones have peep holes.

“We also want the police to take steps to try and find out who the perpetrators are. We believe these toilets are on a website so it is reasonable to think that this can be traced.”

The parish council also suggested that the toilets could be managed by some “radar key” meaning the facilities would be locked but accessible via a key held by a local person or business.

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