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ROOMS WITH A LOO: Sheringham's new beach hut-style toilets. From left: North Norfolk District Councillor Rhodri Oliver, councillor Richard Shepherd , councillor Wyndham Northam, portfolio holder for corporate assets, councillor Brian Hannah, Ray Parsons, from contractors Thrower & Rutland Ltd, John Perry-Warnes, council chairman, Keith Johnson, leader of the council, James Rumsby, of Thrower & Rutland, and council project manager Russell Tanner.
By ALEX HURRELL, Reporter
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Lavatory humour marked the official opening of two new toilet blocks this week when North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) chairman John Perry-Warnes light-heartedly declared each “open for business”.
Mr Perry-Warnes first snipped the ribbon on Tuesday morning to open Sheringham’s state-of-the-art east promenade block, estimated to have cost £85,000-£90,0000.
He then travelled down to North Walsham and performed the honours at the town’s refurbished block, in the Vicarage Street car park, which cost about £60,000,
“This is going to be a huge relief to everyone,” Mr Perry-Warnes joked in North Walsham where the toilets were originally due to open in March.
Motorists endured weeks of disruption as workmen dug up nearby Vicarage Street and Bacton Road on three separate occasions, twice in connection with the toilet installation.
As previously reported, NNDC blamed Norfolk County Council for failing to co-ordinate the utility companies more efficiently while the county council pointed the finger at NNDC for late notification of work needed.
But this week’s message from NNDC representatives and North Walsham’s mayor, Dave Robertson, was that the toilets’ opening would at last trigger the redevelopment of the long-standing 4 Market Street eyesore.
The old butchery toilets, behind derelict and semi-demolished 4 Market Street, can now be closed and NNDC is negotiating with the Market Street property’s owner, Mark Tentori, to sell him the site, giving him more scope to redevelop the area.
District councillor Eric Seward said: “We must observe due process but, if we can’t get it resolved in this way, then we will consider compulsory purchase. This situation has gone on for far too long.”
Mr Robertson added: “The toilet saga’s been frustrating but I appreciate it’s not all the district council’s fault and what’s important is that we have got something which is better than we had, and which will allow 4 Market Street to be developed at long last.”
Sheringham’s new block, which includes a family shower room, baby-changing and disabled facilities, and a drinking fountain, has so impressed members of the Sheringham Enhancement Group that they have already entered it for this year’s national Loo of the Year competition.
“We’ve been campaigning for these toilets for six years and we had become quite finicky about what we wanted but we are delighted with the result,” said group leader Avril Duke-Millar.
“Everything is just ‘Wow!’ about them - they are super: large, eco-friendly, and they look like beach huts.”