Mere's Mouth toilets in Diss set to be refurbished after deadlock broken
The deadlock over the Mere’s Mouth toilets in Diss has finally been broken – meaning the building can now be refurbished with the town council taking over responsibility.
At a meeting of the town council last Wednesday, councillors unanimously agreed to a management and refurbishment plan, which now means South Norfolk Council can go-ahead with work to spruce up the ageing facility.
It means that from April 1, the town council will take over responsibility for and management of the toilets, apart from any risk of subsidence.
It follows a year of wrangling between the councils which included four surveys, a petition to save the toilets, plans for a community toilet scheme and accusations that the town council was dragging its feet.
Jo Locke, president of Diss WI, who was a lead campaigner in the fight to save the toilets, described the saga as a ‘ping pong over pee”.
Last Wednesday, town mayor Trevor Wenman said: “A year ago, we were in a situation where the only option seemed to be that the toilets should be demolished.
“The people of Diss made it very clear that shouldn’t be the case and, in working with the district council, we have found a solution. It’s not a straight forward lease or transfer of property, which is why it has taken somewhat longer to sort out. It has been frustrating for all of us.
“However, thanks to the professional work of officers on both councils, and the tenacious work of my fellow councillors in making sure we get the best deal for Diss, we are absolutely confident that the block, once refurbished, will be in as good condition as they can be. We can then take over the management of them, as we intended all along.”
The toilets will close for refurbishment and could reopen in either June or July.
During the meeting, former town councillor Mike Bardwell, called the handling of the negotiations by the town council “absolutely ridiculous”.
In response, Julian Mason replied: “The reason that it has been drawn out, as touched on by Cllr Wenman, is that we wanted to make absolutely certain that we got the best deal for Diss and not be lumbered with a dilapidated building at the cost of our rate payers, and we have got the resolution we want.”
More by this authorChris Morris