Don’t worry there’s always the pub - advice to one village caught up in review of public loos across East Cambridgeshire

Ely Toilets set to close, Barton Road,

Ely Toilets set to close, Barton Road, - Credit: Archant

Villagers have been told not to worry if East Cambs Council close their public convenience since they can always use a local social club and the local pubs.

Ely Toilets set to close, Sacrist Gate,

Ely Toilets set to close, Sacrist Gate, - Credit: Archant

The advice to Fordham villagers is contained in a wide ranging review of public loos across East Cambridgeshire that could see three in Ely close and parish councils invited to take over others.

Fordham’s public loo in Carter Street costs £7,427 a year to run – and the district council wants to axe it.

The parish council is being offered a one off payment of £7,427 to take them over.

“The facility is lightly used during the week and more heavily used at weekends to accommodate sports on the nearby recreation area,” says a council report.

Ely Toilets set to close, Newnham Street,

Ely Toilets set to close, Newnham Street, - Credit: Archant

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“There are no other public facilities nearby; however there are private facilities in local pubs and social clubs”.

Nine public conveniences in East Cambridgeshire were considered during the review. These are:

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•The Causeway, Burwell

•Main Street, Littleport

Lib Dems have begun a petition to save Ely loos

Lib Dems have begun a petition to save Ely loos - Credit: Archant

•Carter Street, Fordham

•Barton Road, Ely

•Cloisters, Ely

•Newnham Street, Ely

•Palace Green, Ely

•Sacrist Gate, Ely

•Ship Lane, Ely

If the recommendations are agreed next month, the council will close three loos in Ely at Newnham Street, Sacrist Gate and Barton Road.

Main Street, Littleport, loos will remain but only if the parish council contributes £7,000 of the £12,000 a year cost of keeping them open.

Burwell Parish Council has also been offered the opportunity to pay £4,500 towards the annual operating costs of £8,000.

The review has been under way since December 2014 but only now have formal proposals come forward.

East Cambs Council says it costs £192,000 a year to look after the nine loos under review with eight staff involved in keeping them clean.

By implementing the planned changes the council believes it can get this cost down to £91,000 a year.

The report said: “The service is not statutory. Nevertheless it is recognised that providing public conveniences, at appropriate locations, is in the interest of the public.”

In Ely the council says the Barton Road loos are the worst in East Cambridgeshire. They claim there are tiles falling off the walls and the cisterns leak.

But Barton Road is also, says the report, a potential development opportunity.

East Cambs Council says it has looked at two options for outside management of the loos – the one contractor who put in a price wants £170,000 a year for a 15 year contract.

In return the operator would invest £500,000 to cover the cost of coin entry systems and refurbishments across the entire estate.

However this option looks to have been dropped in the final recommendation going to the commercial services committee on March 18.

“Whilst it is recognised that there is a need to manage and maintain public conveniences in Ely, it is not recommended that the council continue to manage and maintain all six public conveniences in the city,” says the report.

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