£800 to rent derelict loo? You can bog off!

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The district council has been panned over its proposed “ludicrous” charge of £800 a year to rent out a dilapidated loo block.

Sutton Bridge parish councillors hoped to be given the disused loos building for community use – including vital storage for In Bloom equipment – but are now telling the district council to hand over the loos or demolish them.

Parish councillor Vicky Hills. ANL-141128-150135001

Parish councillor Vicky Hills. ANL-141128-150135001

The loos stand on parish council-owned land in the car park at the Memorial Field and the district council, which owns the loos, offered to spend nearly £2,000 repairing the roof and gable end walls before charging the parish £800 a year to rent them.

Angry parish councillors are refusing to pay the bill and have now issued an ultimatum: demolish the loos or hand them over.

The district council will be slapped with a ground rent charge by the parish council if it does not comply.

Parish councillor Vicky Hills said: “£800 to rent the disused toilets? It’s ludicrous. They can bog off.

“Our parish clerk has been trying for two years to resolve the debacle of the disused loos.”

The loos are 
already deteriorating. Slates are missing from the roof, parts of the gable end walls have come away and there’s vegetation growing in one of the entrances.

Coun Hills said if the loos are left as they are, the building will only deteriorate further.

She said it’s going to cost the district council taxpayers a substantial sum on repairs – and even more to demolish them – and the loos are only fit for storage as there are brand new toilets at the nearby Curlew Centre.

Sutton Bridge In Bloom wants to use the disabled toilet in the old block for storing garden tools and to draw water for its planters and gardens spread around the village.

Bloom chairman Rocki Freezor and her sister, Bloom treasurer Teresa Hardy, each make four or five trips from home every other day in the growing season with 150 gallons of water in their cars.

The Bloomers want storage that’s more central and easily accessible.

Mrs Freezor said: “It’s sad when you have got people who are prepared to make the place look nice and you have got these bureaucrats who don’t give a damn.

“I think it’s just crazy. I think they (the district council) are just being churlish.”

Coun Michael Booth told Tuesday’s Sutton Bridge Parish Council meeting it would be cheaper to build a shed for the Bloomers than it would to rent the loos.

The parish council originally had talks with a district council portfolio holder who was checking to see if the equipment could be removed and the building donated to the village. But councillors were stunned when they heard about the proposed charge.

A spokesman for South Holland District Council said: “We recently offered terms for a short term lease of the building to the Parish Council. We have asked for feedback and await their response.

“In disposing of its assets the council is obliged to seek the best option in terms of value.

“Any report on the disposal will need to include financial implications setting out whether the best option is sought and if not, why not and the likely amount of the undervalue.

“The demolition and removal of the block will also be an option put forward in any future report.”