Money has been well spent, say county council

Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni in the toilets at The Shambles.
Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni in the toilets at The Shambles.

The county council has hit back at criticism of Alnwick’s public toilets, claiming they ‘will be much more pleasant to use’ following refurbishment.

As previously reported by the Gazette, £12,700-worth of work to the facilities in The Shambles was funded by £3,700 from the county council and £3,000 each from the town council and county councillors Heather Cairns and Gordon Castle.

However, at its October meeting, the town council expressed dissatisfaction with the work that had been carried out.

And last week, the chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, Carlo Biagioni, added his voice to the criticism, questioning what had been achieved for almost £13,000.

But a spokesman for Northumberland County Council has said that a lot of improvements have been made, but ‘to get a real wow factor’ would be unaffordable.

“The specification for the work was agreed with the town council in advance, based on the level of funding available,” he said.

“A lot of improvements have been made – the toilets have been totally repainted, all surfaces deep cleansed and areas regrouted, while long-standing issues around poor ventilation and odour have been addressed through better ventilation, clearing of the drains and installation of automated air fresheners.

“The toilet cubicles and vanity units have all been replaced and new Dyson hand-dryers fitted throughout.

“The majority (70 per cent) of the costs incurred relate to the provision and fitting of the hand-dryers and cubicles/vanity units.

“To get a real wow-factor would have meant replacing the actual toilets and sinks and this was neither affordable or necessary given their current condition and the funds available.

“However, we are sure that the money on the refurbishment works has been well spent and will make the toilets much more pleasant to use than before.”