Melton Council set to press ahead with plans to provide new semi-automatic public toilets at two town centre sites

The current public toilets at St Mary's Way car park in Melton EMN-160614-174145001
The current public toilets at St Mary's Way car park in Melton EMN-160614-174145001
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Melton Council is set to press ahead with a £225,000 project to replace loos at two town centre sites with cheaper-to-run semi-automatic unisex toilets.

Members of the council’s community and social affairs committee are being asked to approve a project mandate to replace the existing toilets at Wilton Road and St Mary’s Way car parks with the new loos - a move which will save the council around £50,000 a year - and to approve the allocation of £10,000 to proceed with a business case for the new facilities which wouldn’t need to be fully staffed.

Councillors are also being asked to approve the immediate closure of the Park Lane toilets which would be sold. Subject to that site gaining planning permission for residential development, the council anticipate the sale of the toilets would generate about £35,000.

The council said the recommended changes were likely to result in a reduction in the current workforce, with ongoing consultation with affected staff. At the time of going to press it wasn’t known how many staff would be affected.

Earlier this year the council invited people to have their say on a range of options for the town’s public loos.

Over 200 people took part in its public consultation. More than half of the 123 people who answered one of the survey questions agreed with the council’s proposed approach to replace the existing toilets at St Mary’s Way and Wilton Road with the new loos.

More than half of respondents felt the semi-automatic toilets would meet their needs and more than two thirds of people said they’d prefer some of the new loos to be available in the St Mary’s Way car park rather than Windsor Street.

More than half of respondents didn’t agree with the idea of people being asked to make voluntary contributions to use the town centre loos, following improvements.

The council’s community and social affairs committee will meet on Wednesday (June 22) to agree the next steps of the project.

The project mandate report, seeking the committee’s approval, says: “The semi-automatic toilets under consideration are similar to what we have already except that they have direct access from the street, no lobby areas and there are no button touch systems.

“They offer clean modular cubicles that are easy to clean, serviced by roving cleaners provided through a

contract, and offer lower running costs.

“The new proposed toilets would address certain issues such as the existing turnstiles and lobbies that

provide difficult access, particularly for pushchair users. They also offer better solutions for parents wanting to accompany their children in the toilets and are better designed to withstand vandalism.

“They would need to be carefully designed to ensure the look is in keeping with tourism aspirations and the character of the town.

“The operational issues have not yet been determined, however it is recognised that if the new proposals are implemented there will be no need for attended toilets and cleaning would be best provided through an outsourced contract. This is being managed appropriately, with staff consulted as required.”