October 21 2014 Latest news:
By DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP, Reporter
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Around £10,000 worth of damage has been caused to a new toilet block in Sheringham after arsonists set light to it.
The east promenade toilets at the seafront were badly damaged by fire at the weekend after four of the five unisex cubicles were targeted by vandals.
The attack was discovered at around 6am on September 8 and following a report to the police the site has now been inspected by the crime scene investigations unit.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) chairman John Perry-Warnes officially opened the toilet block, located next to the Anglian Water pumping station, in mid-July.
It replaced the former block which was closed in 2006 due to being in a poor state of repair and within a couple of weeks of its opening the block had been targeted by vandals.
But the latest vandalism is far worse, said a spokesman for the district council.
The floor and wall boards are made from a fire retardant material and the doors are metal, which will have helped to reduce the impact and spread of the fire.
The damage was mostly confined to the flooring and toilets but some of the wall boards may need replacing.
Other incidents have included young people climbing on the roof to see if they can see inside and holding coins against the outside door lock so younger children using the toilet cannot get out. There have also been cases of broken door handles and internal hooks.
Wyndham Northam, NNDC’s cabinet member for corporate assets, said the people of Sheringham would be “very angry about acts of vandalism such as this”.
He added: “The people involved in this vandalism have not only damaged the toilets, but have also damaged the town of Sheringham.
“It is still a very new facility and the council invested a significant sum of taxpayers’ money in the project.
“Providing public conveniences to visitors and local people is a discretionary service, but one which the council feels is very important in a popular destination town.”
The new toilets were designed to have the appearance of beach huts, are fully Disability Discrimination Act compliant and include a shower, baby change and drinking water.
They also feature environmentally friendly designs, with clear panels in the roof helping reduce the need for electric lighting during daylight hours and a rainwater harvesting system.
A spokesman from Norfolk Constabulary said the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) has been carrying out extra patrols in the area and are working closely with Sheringham Town Council and Sheringham Enhancement Group to control anti-social behaviour.
The targeted cubicles will remain closed while further assessments are made.
● PC Alannah Austin from Cromer SNT is appealing for witnesses to the arson. Anyone with information is asked to ring 101 or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.