£500,000 public toilet plan gets green light

Eric Seward is fighting to reverse the decision. Picture: Liberal Democrats.

Eric Seward, NNDC's finance and assets portfolio holder - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Two north Norfolk towns will get new, accessible loos to the tune of £500,000.

Councillors on North Norfolk District Council's cabinet have voted unanimously in favour of the Changing Places toilets - which include a hoist, changing bench and extra space so that people with any disability should be able to use them - in North Walsham and Sheringham.

At a Tuesday meeting, Eric Seward, the council's finance and assets portfolio holder, said the new investment would mean the council had spent £1.2 million on new or upgraded toilets since 2018.

Mr Seward said: "The reason we do this is to support tourism, support shops and business, and to take into account the demographic nature of our residents. Nationally, there are some 14 million people who suffer from various urinary problems." 

Under the scheme, the current toilets at The Leas on the Esplanade in Sheringham will be upgraded, and the toilet block at Vicarage Street Car Park in North Walsham will be replaced. 

The arch on Sheringham's seafront, where The Leas public toilets can be found. 

The arch on Sheringham's seafront, where The Leas public toilets can be found. - Credit: Google StreetView

The council plans to apply to a government changing places toilet programme to fund part of the project,  which should net at least £40,000.

Several other councillors also spoke in favour of the plans, including Christopher Cushing, leader of the council's opposition Conservative group. He said: "I think it's a natural right that people should have public facilities to use when they need them."

NNDC councillor for Lancaster North, Christopher Cushion.

 Christopher Cushing, leader of the NNDC's opposition Conservative group. - Credit: NNDC.

Mr Seward said North Norfolk - with its 38 public loos - was "very much bucking the national trend" in its toilet provision, which is not a legal obligation of district councils. 

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He said: "There are now 47 council areas in the UK where there are no public toilets. We are committed to having a comprehensive public toilet provision. We should be proud of that."

Emma Spagnola, Changing Places campaigner and North Norfolk district councillor for Suffield Park, said she was thrilled with the move.

She said: "It's fantastic, and something I'm really pleased the council is on board with. 

"With our beach wheelchairs at Cromer and Sheringham as well it's going to make north Norfolk a really inclusive place for people who visit, and also people who live here."  

Emma Spagnola, Liberal Democrat

Emma Spagnola.   - Credit: Emma Spagnola