Published: Thursday, 3rd November 2022
Investment in much-needed new public conveniences at the Town Hall car park in Downham Market has been promised and work to assess the options is already underway.
The public toilets in the car park outside the Town Hall in Downham Market, located to serve the shopping centre and regular market, were first installed as part of a £1.7m regeneration programme in the town in 2003. In more recent years, maintenance of these toilets has become increasingly difficult because of their modular nature and the lack of availability of parts from the company that manufactured and installed them, a fact that was highlighted when Cllr Stuart Dark had a walk round with the Mayor of Downham Market and the Clerk to the Town Council.
Cllr Stuart Dark, MBE, Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, explained:
"Earlier this year I had a walk round the town with the Mayor. During the visit, I asked them what the biggest issues for them in the town were. Without hesitation, I was advised the biggest issue was the toilet block located in the Town Hall car park. These toilets are closed more than they are open and are almost at the point of being beyond serviceable use."
The accessible toilet in this block had been converted to a more traditional model, which has been easier to maintain, but this didn't resolve the main problems with the rest of the block, which were often not available for use.
Cllr Dark added:
"The standard of these toilets has deteriorated to an unacceptable level, and they are now more of an inconvenience than a public convenience. We have already invested in the public loos in Heacham and Hunstanton and now our focus is on bringing this toilet block up to scratch. This project is further evidence of our investment in Downham Market. Previously we invested in the play equipment at the Howdale, and in picnic benches."
Cllr Charlie Pyatt, Mayor of Downham Market Town Council, said:
"I am very pleased to hear that the constructive meetings between Downham Market Town Council and the Borough Council Leader, Cllr Stuart Dark, about the public toilets on Bridge Street, have reached a positive conclusion with this announcement to invest in a new toilet block. The Borough Council can continue to manage their site as they presently do.
"The toilet block, which all will agree has needed renovation work for some time, has caused much frustration to the Borough Council and the Town Council, with the parts being obsolete so little to no refurbishment work could be completed by the Borough Council.
"The Town Council look forward to receiving the design plans for the toilet block in due course and continuing to build on our positive relationship with the Borough Council."
The programme for the work, and the nature of the work will be confirmed once the initial assessment of the site has been undertaken and options reviewed.
Funding for the upgrade of this toilet block has been earmarked from an existing special projects budget, which is created from underspends during the year.