One public toilet goes while two remain

ONE of Royston’s public toilets has gone down the pan, though two have survived, as North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) reshapes its budget.

The toilets at Royston bus station were deemed surplus after NHDC revealed they were “not at all satisfied” with the way they were being maintained by taxi company Meltax.

However, the facilities at Fish Hill and The Cross will remain open, with NHDC looking for ideas from the public on how best to manage them.

Cllr Peter Burt, portfolio holder for waste, recycling and environment, said: “The public toilets near the bus shelter, which were being managed by Meltax, have now been closed.

“While this is regrettable, we were not at all satisfied with the way that these facilities were maintained. Despite numerous warnings, they were being left in a state which was completely unacceptable, both to us and to residents.”

Meltax were given a rebate of �1,750 a year on their business rates as part of the deal for maintaining the toilets, but Cllr Burt said they had not kept to the agreed standards of maintenance.

“We have given them ample opportunity to respond to our concerns, but they have chosen not to do so. This has left us with no choice but to close the toilets,” he said.

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But Geoff Dawes, director of Meltax, said that the toilets had been kept clean enough.

“We didn’t think they were too bad, and I think they are using this as a reason to close it down.

“Any excuse will do for them. They showed us some pictures of how they looked and said there was a smell, but it was inherited and couldn’t be got rid of.”

NHDC will now be taking ideas from community groups and town councils on the future of the toilets.

“On January 25, Cabinet made the decision to see if arrangements could be made over the next 12 months with community groups and councils to maintain public toilets where possible. This decision was approved by full Council on February 10.

“We’ll review the situation for the 2012/13 budget and if any organisation wants to come forward with a proposal in the meantime, we’d be happy to consider it.”