3/14/2007

Toilets in North Norfolk

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.

5 comments:

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

It's a bit of a non-story then, isn't it? Was going to post about it but you've set the record straight. Seems like the Conservative by-election campaign wasn't exactly flushed with success! That said, you did lose a council over toilet closures (the cncl. which covering Howard's Folkestone constituency – name escapes me).

The terrified guy from the council who answered questions from the Newsnight reporter said anti-social behaviour was the main reason behind it - citing 'cottaging as the main one'.

A local (antiques dealer?) later declared, over his best china and a battenberg cake, that if you took that approach you would have to close the church, its grave yard, the shoppers' car park...

Is Holt the new Hove?

Justin

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

It's a bit of a non-story then, isn't it? Was going to post about it but you've set the record straight. Seems like the Conservative by-election campaign wasn't exactly flushed with success! That said, you did lose a council over toilet closures (the cncl. which covering Howard's Folkestone constituency – name escapes me).

The terrified guy from the council who answered questions from the Newsnight reporter said anti-social behaviour was the main reason behind it - citing 'cottaging as the main one'.

A local (antiques dealer?) later declared, over his best china and a battenberg cake, that if you took that approach you would have to close the church, its grave yard, the shoppers' car park...

Is Holt the new Hove?

Justin

Norfolk Blogger said...

There is a thriving gay community in Holt. In many ways, it is the Hove of Norfolk. Lots of coffee shops, antique shops, artists in residence, etc.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

I see this post went down the pan...

Anonymous said...

Norfolk,
I thought this Newsnight story was a good one - a 'microcosm' of many issues facing the countryside -

* The people who suffer most from such closures are older people. My view is that although their votes are worth just the same, the fact that they have less money means their views are often disregarded.

* This affects people living in a more rural environment - again they seem less important than those who can be influenced by regenerating urban areas.

* The crucial point to me was that this provision had been put into someone's will - their 'final wish' if you like. If we as a society are willing to ignore these then what do people who want to leave legacy funds think ? That their wishes will not be respected once they are six feet under ? Shameful.

We will see what has transpired when Madeleine Holt trips back to that neck of the woods to see what progress has been made.

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