Contentious toilet costing is revealed

Harlestons new high tech toilet which costs money to use Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Harlestons new high tech toilet which costs money to use Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The controversial Harleston toilet has cost between £80,000 to £100,000 to tax payers, the Mercury can reveal.

Not only has it caused anger from residents who have told the Mercury that it is a waste of money and a tax on bodily functions - it has also been the subject of vandals after being open for just six weeks.

The installation of the self-cleaning toilet at the Bullock Fair in November was the start of a programme by South Norfolk Council to refurbish all of its public toilets in support of its Market Towns Initiative.

The council believe the toilet, which costs people 20p to spend a penny, will help to increase the number of people visiting the town.

A spokesman for the council said: 'South Norfolk Council is continuing to actively support our market towns and to make sure that Harleston is in the best shape possible to keep attracting shoppers, tourists and businesses now and in the future.

'The council has supported a wide range of initiatives and the new toilets are a part of this support.'

The council have also stated that the old toilets, which were built 55 years ago, were not cost effective and a modern facility was needed to serve the community for the future.

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The toilet installation was met with anger from many of the town's residents.

David Newby, 74, of Gawdy Close said the toilets were a 'total waste of money' and the council should have spent the money on improving the Budgens car park.

David Bramhall also Gawdy Close said the toilets were a 'tax of people's involuntary natural functions'.

Another resident, Mr Rydell from Badger Close, asked how the council can justify asking people to pay to use the new toilet when the old one was free.

A spokesman for the council added: 'Although there have been teething problems, this new facility has also been targeted by vandals and it is their actions that have contributed to the temporary closures that have happened since the installation.'

What are your thoughts on the toilet? Email or write to the Diss Mercury, 26 Mere Street, IP22 4AD with your name and address.