Do we really believe they can't afford £5k?

PUBLISHED: 17:40 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

LIKE most people, I stand in amazement at the council proposing to close the High Street toilets to save just £5,000. Our City centre amenities should be preserved. I was quite stunned that with 108,000 people using this convenience it could be thought of

LIKE most people, I stand in amazement at the council proposing to close the High Street toilets to save just £5,000. Our City centre amenities should be preserved. I was quite stunned that with 108,000 people using this convenience it could be thought of as under-used. They know this figure, by the way, because the toilets have people counters although, I understand, they have not been working for a year or two.

I did a little calculation, and maths was never my strong point, but managed to work out that 108,000 people per year worked out to 296 per day, on an 8 hour day that is 40 per hour, across 3 cubicles that is 12.5 people in each cubicle per hour continuously.

These toilets are at full capacity especially when you consider that people do not spread themselves out as evenly as statistics!

We read in the newspaper that the council recently agreed to spend £250,000 on essential repairs at The Grange offices. Fortunately, they have had the good sense this time to use their own workers instead of employing yet more contractors. A further £258,430 spent over the next three years on decorating, new carpets and external repairs. I wonder if it would be possible that they could choose a slightly cheaper carpet and make that figure £243,430 allowing us to keep our toilet. It may be possible that, from the further £700,000 intending to be spent on the air conditioning system etc. we could save just £5,000, by not regulating one of their toilets perhaps?

If we really must spend absolutely every penny mentioned on The Grange, I contemplate if we could save some money being spent on employing a consultancy company from Leeds to advise us on our car parking situation or by curbing the massive salary being offered to fill a council position at the moment. No I am sure the consultants are seen as indispensable as they are needed to back the council's desire to introduce parking charges and I am sure that we all agree that a Council officer must be worth around £50,000 pa.

I wonder if some ladies' groups could help out the council by holding some coffee mornings to raise the necessary £5,000 0r should we consider a 5p charge to use the loo, actually giving a £400 profit per annum.

Let us face facts, none of us believe that the council is proposing to close this toilet to save £5,000. There is definitely another story behind this. It may be that these toilets are in the way of a proposed development or, quite rightly, the cathedral wishes to put up the rent from £5 a year. If so, why are we not told so? Why is it that everything involving our council is surrounded in mystery with the public being purposely left out of the loop? In our dealings with them over the last 18 months we have come to know that this is the truth.

Hopefully come the elections in May 2007 we can remove some of these dysfunctional councillors and enter some people with common sense and integrity who will pull these officers in line.

Elaine Griffin-Singh

Chairman

Ely Traders Association

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