Justin Hinchcliffe has contacted me to ask about the article on Newsnight tonight about toilet closures in Holt. I must thank Justin, who unlike some Tories who would jump in and attack, took the time to ask me first and get the true facts. A real gentleman.
The problem is, of course, that man of the public toilets in North Norfolk are not up to new government standards. It is interesting to note that new toilet facilities are being opened in the district, but I doubt the BBC reported this. Also neighbouring Broadland have closed toilets (a Tory run council), but this does not make the news !
The problem is, to my mind, the government insisting on ALL toilets being of a minimum standard, size and shape. Old toilets block, often built in Victorian times, either have to be demolished and rebuilt or the costs are simply too much. I know of one toilet block that needs several tens of thousands of pounds spending on it to bring it up to "standard", yet most local people are happy with it as it is.
The government should allow local council's more flexibility on matters like this. After all, local electors can then make decisions.
Interestingly, the toilets issue in Holt was the main thrust of the Tory attack on this Lib Dem run council in North Norfolk last year in a by-election in Holt, and our majority went up in that election. However, in principle I remain complete opposed to toilet closures, although if council tax is to be kept in check, we have to ask how we can afford to bring toilets up to standard.