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Henley public toilets could get £10k facelift
Published 13/02/13

UP to £200,000 could be spent on improving two public toilets in Henley.

South Oxfordshire District Council says it wants to upgrade the facilities at the station and Greys Road car parks and to budget for the work to take place before the end of March next year.

Councillor David Dodds, cabinet member for finance, said the overhaul would be similar to the one carried out at the King’s Road car park toilets in 2008.

The entire block was demolished following complaints that it was cramped, dark and smelly and replaced with a £100,000 facility which had larger cubicles and more natural light.

Cllr Dodds said: “We want to refurbish them to the high standard we’re aiming for with our public toilets. They tend to cause problems as they get older and they do get a lot of wear and tear.

“I haven’t seen the plans as yet but it would be something along the lines of the ones in King’s Road. [Each one] might cost anything from £80,000 to £100,000 — it depends on the work that’s needed.”

When it rebuilt the King’s Road toilets, the council also carried out minor repairs at the Greys Road and Station Road facilities. Henley Mayor Liz Hodgkin welcomed the news, saying the work was badly needed.

She said: “I’m so pleased that they’ve got it on their radar as we’re such an important town for visitors.

“They carried out a bit of work a few years ago, like replacing a couple of doors, but that only just scratched the surface.

“The Greys Road toilet is especially bad and we get a lot of complaints about it at the town hall.

“It’s not through a lack of cleaning. Those toilets are just difficult to maintain and aren’t fit for purpose any more.

“We’re glad that the district council thinks it’s as important as we do.”

The town council is planning a £40,000 refurbishment of the public toilets at Leichlingen Pavilion in Mill Meadows, which it is responsible for.

It plans to add new toilets, tiles, sewerage pipes, cubicles and hand-washing facilities and to redecorate.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who chairs the council’s Mill Meadows and river sub-committee, said he would liaise with the district council to see if they could save money by sharing contractors.

He said: “Those toilets, especially the ones at Greys Road, are absolutely awful and need to be refurbished.

“If they can be done at the same time as we’re upgrading the ones at Mill Meadows, that would be wonderful for Henley.”

Town and district councillor Jeni Wood added: “I’ve felt for a long time that Henley’s toilets don’t reflect well on the town. We’re a very special town and have to keep in mind that we attract a lot of tourists.

“I think we’re fully deserving of much nicer and more acceptable toilets.”

Raymond Martin, of the British Toilet Association, said: “You don’t often hear of councils investing in toilets but proactive councils realise that good toilets bring in tourists and help the elderly and disabled, so we applaud what they’re planning.”

The district council also plans to replace the signs and ticket machines at all its car parks in South Oxfordshire.

The 2013/14 budget, which includes a 2.5 per cent decrease in its share of council tax, is due to be approved on Thursday.

Published 13/02/13

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