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Toilets open and in demand
Published 25/06/14

REFURBISHED public toilets in Henley ran out of loo rolls within 24 hours of re-opening.

Contractors finished work at the toilets in Leichlingen Pavilion in Mill Meadows at lunchtime on Friday and they were available to use immediately.

They were then officially opened by Mayor Martin Akehurst on Monday when he cut an unravelled roll of loo paper with garden shears in front of fellow councillors and invited guests.

The previous toilets were about 25 years old and were prone to bad smells due to drainage problems.

Councillor Akehurst said: “We decided that rather than patching them up we would put in a completely new set of toilets that will hopefully last a long time and be a better use of taxpayers’ money.

“The public started road-testing them on Friday and I understand that by Saturday morning they had run out of loo paper.”

Architect Robert Rigby, who advised the council, said the new toilets were more user-friendly. “They are up-to-date, maintenance free — as far as possible — long-standing, vandal-resistant and bright and cheerful to be in,” he said.

The new facility includes a disabled and family changing room with a static bench to help those who need to change a disabled person.

The council hopes to install a rising bench if it is successful with a grant application to South Oxfordshire District Council for 60 per cent of the cost. The refurbishment was carried out by Wells Builders, of Wargrave, who started in March after being delayed by a month due to flooding in Mill Meadows.

The work was due to take 10 weeks but overran and is expected to cost more than the £100,000 budgeted by the council, as the Henley Standard reported last week.

Adrian Radnedge, who owns the company, said: “We were about to start and then the floods came so we couldn’t get near it for a good month. I think the water came up to the second step.”

His staff found the toilets had been refurbished at least twice previously.

Mr Radnedge said: “We found a few ugly things that had to be reconfigured, such as drainage, old tiling and old floors. This is not unusual when you take an old building apart.”

Meanwhile, refurbishment of the neighbouring toddler playground, which was due to be finished at the beginning of next month, is likely to delayed by about two weeks.

Nicci Taylor, the council’s senior administrator, said: “Due to the complexity of the ‘wetpour’ design and weather conditions, this may be delayed to mid-July.”

The town council agreed a £130,000 deal with Danish company Kompan to carry out the work.

The new design is themed around stories by Hans Christian Andersen with parts labelled Crocodile Creek, Shark Shallows and Fairy Tale Island.

The floor covering will be painted to look like a river and there will be a “royal regatta” rowing boat.

Published 25/06/14

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