Villagers waiting to spend a penny

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VISITORS to Sutton Bridge may have to wait a little longer to spend a penny because there are no pounds available to open the town’s only public toilets.

Alan Barber, acting chairman of Sutton Bridge Community Centre Fund, says he has been fighting to get the toilets open since he took over in April.

The toilets are situated on the side of the Curlew Centre in Bridge Road and will be accessible from outside. Up until now the public has been allowed to use toilets in the centre, but it is not open all day, every day.

Mr Barber said: “A man with a health problem just caught us before we closed the other day – I hate to think what would have happened if the centre was closed.”

The main point of Mr Barber’s argument is an e-mail to the clerk of the parish council – dated Friday, May 14, 2010 – from Andrew Petcher, corporate director of South Holland District Council. In the e-mail was confirmation of an offer of £2,500 from the council for provision of public toilets.

On April 25, Mr Barber sent a copy of the e-mail to Coun Howard Johnson, portfolio holder for Economic Development.

He said they could open at weekends, too, for £3,750, which would cover the extra cost of cleaning.

Coun Johnson replied on April 26, saying the email had been forwarded to Glen Chapman, environmental services team leader.

Mr Barber said he had sent further e-mails but had still not had a satisfactory response. He said: “I even threatened not to let the public use the toilets in the centre, but it’s difficult when people are desperate.”

A spokesman for South Holland District Council said: “We are investigating the impact on, and question of, providing funding to open, clean and close these toilets, but at this time we are unable to make a commitment.

“The financial climate in local government has changed significantly since 2010 and that is the context in which we must appraise the situation.”