Sutton Bridge residents are still caught short

New and old at Memorial Park, Sutton Bridge: the Curlew Centre in the foreground; the former toilet block close by. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN) SG030712-234NG
New and old at Memorial Park, Sutton Bridge: the Curlew Centre in the foreground; the former toilet block close by. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN) SG030712-234NG

A COUNCIL’s failure to pay up so Sutton Bridge’s only public toilets can be opened has been branded “shameful”.

The village has been caught short without public loos since before Christmas, when the ladies and gents block in Memorial Park was shut by South Holland District Council because it had been vandalised.

Worse still, disabled users have been getting in to the block using special radar keys though the water supply to flush the loos is off.

And the immaculate brand-new toilets in the Curlew Centre just yards away, intended to replace the outdated facility, cannot be opened for public access as the £2,500 annual fee for cleaning them daily has not been paid by the district council.

Peter Clery, who was chairman of the Community Centre Fund at the time the building was being planned, said: “In 2010 it was implied to me that if the Curlew Centre didn’t house replacement public toilets, the district council might well object to funding the project as a whole.

“I said we’d need payment to clean and maintain public toilets and an annual fee of £2,500 was agreed. I still have the email from Andrew Petcher at the district council confirming this agreement.

“It’s shameful that the council appears to be trying to back out of paying. They had no right to close down the existing toilets without providing for a replacement.”

Complaints about the situation have poured in to Sutton Bridge Parish Council and its chairman, Coun John Grimwood, has been carrying gallons of water to the old block to flush the system through because radar key holders are still using it, not realising the water supply is off.

He said: “It’s a shame for the people of Sutton Bridge. Even if the district council paid £2,500 we’d be subsidising the maintenance and could only open the toilets five days a week.”

A district council spokesman said: “This council’s own toilets in Sutton Bridge have been shut due to persistent vandalism which has damaged the water supply and we will be looking to secure the disabled toilet as this cannot operate properly without running water.

“In the meantime we are looking to contribute towards maintaining and cleaning the Curlew Centre toilets.”