New structural survey to be carried out on Mere's Mouth toilets in Diss
South Norfolk Council is to be asked to provide another survey to determine the state of the Mere’s Mouth toilets before the town council takes them over.
At a meeting of the town council last Wednesday, councillors heard that its district counterpart had agreed to provide the survey on the condition that, following refurbishment, the town council will take over responsibility for both the interior and exterior, apart from any risk of subsidence.
Previous proposals had included discussions over the town council taking on full ownership and responsibility for maintenance but had led to stalemate.
The town council is unhappy however with the districts council's latest refurbishment plans and sought legal advice over the management contract.
At Wednesday’s meeting, councillors debated who should carry out the final survey, which is now the fourth, in total.
An earlier survey commissioned by the district council led to a recommendation that the site should be demolished, stating it was “beyond economical repair”.
The survey, seen by the Diss Express, had concluded that the toilets, in the main, needed underpinning at a cost of around £25,000.
Mayor Trevor Wenman said: “We have questioned whether previous studies were thorough enough. This is the last hurdle and will ensure we have a full structural survey which we can rely on and determine what we are going to be responsible for.”
Michael Crawford said: “I am gratified that the district council has now said it will appoint a surveyor, which suggests to me that it wasn’t willing to appoint a surveyor before.
“Having come up with what I think to be a spurious, so-called specification, we are now told that a surveyor is going to be employed and will be bona fide, I am sure.
“I am not going to use the word suspicious, but I am just thinking why is it that South Norfolk Council is not willing to go with a joint surveyor.”
Eric Taylor, however, felt the council was being paranoid.
He said: “I understand everyone’s concerns and had concerns myself at the beginning, but I think we are now being paranoid. The district council is giving guarantees on the structure; we are looking after the interior, so let’s take it at face value.”
This article appears in the current edition of the Diss Express