Town centre public toilets could be demolished

Diss Mere and the public toilet block. PHOTO: Simon Parker

Diss Mere and the public toilet block. PHOTO: Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A town centre could lose vital toilet facilities if plans to knock down a public toilet block go ahead.

The public toilets located in Mere's Mouth are one of three public toilet facilities located in Diss, with others being in Diss Park and in the Corn Hall.

Currently owned by South Norfolk Council (SNC) - which is under no obligation to provide public toilet facilities - ownership of the toilets was due to transfer to the Diss Town Council on at the end of March 2018, following an £80,000 refurbishment of the building.

However, a structural survey of the toilet block carried out last year found serious problems with the building's foundations, leading

SNC to decide refurbishing the building would be uneconomical and instead suggesting the toilets should be demolished.

Now, the town council must decide whether or not to accept the toilet block in its current state or allow SNC to demolish the building, meaning the town would lose its most central toilet provision.

But for many shoppers in the town, the toilets are a valuable facility which would be missed.

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Rodha Brinkley, 66, from Hinderclay, said: 'They're important, there are lots of older people who need them.

'They're a very important part of Diss and I imagine it would be short sighted to get rid of them.'

Janet Bloomfield, 48, from Stanley Road, Diss, agreed: 'I think it's a really good facility for older people, especially if they come here for shopping.'

Mrs Bloomfield added that she would also be happy to pay a small fee to use the toilets if it helped to keep the facilities clean and tidy.

Hugh Kingwell, 78, from Diss, said: 'Whenever I'm shopping in Diss I use the toilets, I prefer free toilets though.'

At a town council on Wednesday, March 21, councillors discussed options for the future of the toilets including redesigning Mere's Mouth with or without a new toilet block and taking on the toilets in their current state.

The council decided to agree in principle to options for the future of the site, endeavour to find out the true structural condition and to set up a task and finish group to take the matter forward.