Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Revamp of toilets delayed ...again

Revamp of toilets delayed ...again

THE refurbishment of public lavatories in Henley has been delayed.

The work on the facilities in Greys Road car park was meant to start by the end of this month but has been put back to September as the contract is currently out to tender.

South Oxfordshire District Council said the winning contractor would be chosen in August.

John Backley, technical services manager, said: “The refurbishment is being advertised on the South East business portal for contractors to apply by June 18.

“We will then evaluate in June and July and award the contract in August. We aim to start work in September.”

He said that the delay has been caused by staff and contractors working from home due to the pandemic.

Mr Backley said: “Because of covid and the fact that everyone is working from their front rooms and bedrooms, things are taking longer and the amount of time to complete projects has increased.

“It’s not quite as easy to organise things when people are working from home.”

In February, the council earmarked almost £145,000 to renovate the facilities after almost eight years since the project was first planned.

Councillors Ken Arlett and Stefan Gawrysiak, who represent Henley on the council, have been calling for action since 2019.

Robin Bennett, cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, signed off on the funding, which will come from developer contributions, in February.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “I am hugely disappointed that it’s taking so long to deliver this project. We have been waiting four years for this refurbishment. I sincerely hope there will be no more delays.

“The cleaning regime at the toilets has been pretty good so we don’t receive constant complains anymore but it’s disappointing that it’s taking so long.”

Cllr Arlett said: “The council was hoping to get the toilets refurbished in time for the regatta in August - that was the date we were given initially.

“We fought long and hard for this refurbishment and I can only apologise for the delay. We can name and blame but that is not going to get the toilets refurbished sooner. It will be well worth it once the toilets are refurbished.”

The toilets have long been criticised by residents for being smelly and giving a poor impression to visitors.

They will be redesigned to create two separate unisex lavatories and one for women only, a changing area, a welfare room for car park inspectors and storage space for equipment such as signs and barriers for use in the car park.

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