New self-cleaning toilets “fit for the 21st Century” in Harleston will cost the tax payer between £80,000 and £100,000, it has emerged.
Costing 20p to use, the new facilities – described by the South Norfolk Council as cleaner, safer, and more accessible – have a programmable floor jet wash with disinfectant, a disinfectant spray to all pans, and sensor controlled flush and water flow.
It will save the council an estimated £6,845.80 a year.
A statement from South Norfolk Council said: “The old toilets were built over 50 years ago and the council had a choice of continuing to pay the increasing costs of maintaining this out of date facility, closing them completely, as has been done by other local authorities, or replacing them with a modern toilet block, fit for the 21st Century that will serve the community for many years to come.
“The council chose to look to the future and provide Harleston with the best modern, accessible, clean and safe facilities available.”
The opening of the new facility have been blighted by a spate of vandalism. Initially opened for use in December having been installed the previous month, toilets were deliberately blocked, damage was caused to indication panels, and graffiti was left on the building.
The self-cleaning toilets are currently open for use.
Barry Woods, chairman of Redenhall with Harleston Town Council said the issue of the 20p charge was “swings and roundabouts” as free parking was available in the town.
“In terms of the benefit to Harleston, I think personally to have public toilets in any town where ever you go is a real benefit, and if you don’t have it, I think it does have a detrimental effect,” he said. “I can accept they are not the style of building people normally associate with Harleston but having seen inside the works of the toilets, you could not have built those into the existing premises.
“These ones are self cleaning, so the idea is they clean themselves between each individual user so the theory is people should have a far better toilet experience.
“As far as I’m concerned, thank you South Norfolk Council.”
Some have taken to social media to give their opinion on the new facilities. Lyndsey West commented on the Diss Express Facebook page “What a waste of money!”, while Paul Fisher tweeted: “Visit our new toilets in Harleston, we only need 500,000 visitors in the first year to pay for them.”
The improvement is part of the Market Towns Initiative, which aims help trade in Harleston, Diss, Wymondham and Loddon.
Plans for new facilities in Diss will be looked at towards the end of this year, according to South Norfolk Council.
n What do you think? Are the facilities an improvement on the old toilets? Is 20p a fair charge to use the toilets? Are they good value for money? Email firstname.lastname@example.org