MP says North Norfolk has ‘finest public loos in UK’
PUBLISHED: 12:27 04 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:50 04 September 2020
An MP has claimed north Norfolk’s public loos are the best in the country - and called for them to be exempt from business rates.
North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker praised a bill currently making its way through parliament, meaning all public loos in the UK would be eligible for 100pc rate relief.
In a debate about the bill in the House of Commons on August 3, Mr Baker said the measure would save North Norfolk District Council £80,000 a year - more than 10pc of the £700,000 the authority spends annually on running its 39 public toilets.
He said: “In north Norfolk, we discovered just how important the public lavatories were when the pandemic set in.
“My mailbag was full of letters from people in uproar at not being able to use lavatories when they visited the coastal region. In coastal communities, where footfall is high owing to the number of our tourist visitors, where there is an ageing demographic and where there are many people with disabilities, lavatories are not just nice to have, they are a basic necessity.”
Mr Baker said north Norfolk’s public loos were “the finest public conveniences in the country”, including a new community-run public toilet in Cley.
He said: “There can be few better places in north Norfolk than Cromer’s public lavatories, found on the pier or at the town’s Deep History Coast discovery centre. Alternatively, for those caught short in Blakeney, the Blakeney harbour toilets take some beating for their outstanding location.”
NNDC leader Sarah Bütikofer said she fully supported the bill. She said: “Saving this amount of money would enable us to upgrade existing facilities and invest in new ones.”
The council launched a £600,000 scheme to upgrade or rebuild six of its public toilets in 2018.
Two of these projects - at Queens Road in Fakenham and Stearmans Yard car park in Wells - were put on hold due to the pandemic but Mrs Bütikofer said they should be restarted soon.
MORE:North Norfolk District Council to spend £600,000 on sprucing up public toilet facilities
The Wells toilet will be completely rebuilt, and have separate male and female toilet along with a ‘changing places’ facility, three accessible or gender neutral toilets and a family room.
Mrs Bütikofer said the council was looking at adding a changing places facility to one of its Sheringham toilet blocks, and further projects could be announced in next year’s budget.
Mrs Bütikofer added: “We are particularly keen to invest in Weybourne, but there are a number of difficulties to overcome at that location.”
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