Questions over £315,000 spend on Holy Island and Seahouses public toilets and calls for 'value for money' upgrade of other loos

A Northumberland councillor has questioned the ‘excessive’ cost of refurbishing the public toilets in Seahouses and Holy Island.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 7:00 am

The public conveniences in both tourist hotspots are currently being improved at a combined cost of £315,000.

Cllr Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East, raised the issue at a meeting of Northumberland County Council, asking: ‘Are the loo seats going to be lined with gold or are taxpayers getting a bum deal?’

In response, council leader Glen Sanderson indicated that investment in public toilets elsewhere in Northumberland will be announced in the forthcoming budget.

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Cllr Georgina Hill has called for a 'value for money' upgrade of public toilets in Northumberland where £315,000 is being spent on improvements to the facilities in Seahouses and Holy Island.

He said: “Up and down the country, councils have closed or are closing public toilets. This administration is going against this trend because we feel public toilets are exceptionally important, not just for residents but for visitors.

"That is why we are investing in good quality toilets and we have made a start on our most heavily used ones in the key tourist destinations, for example, Bamburgh last year and now at Holy Island and Seahouses.

"Town and parish councils have been asking for public toilets to be given more attention, money and improvement and we think it’s important it’s something we took up.

"We have plans for more so keep an eye out for the budget that is coming and you will see that.”

Public toilets on Holy Island.

After the meeting, Cllr Hill said: “£315,000 seems an excessive amount to spend on refurbishing two public toilets blocks. I will be seeking further details, which were not forthcoming in the leader’s response, as we need assurances around how public money is being spend and value for money.

“The state of the public toilets in Berwick and elsewhere is a constant source of complaint.

"In recent years we have gone round in circles - Northumberland County Council have offered to transfer them to town and parish councils, who generally refuse to take them on and Northumberland County Council then say that if they invested in public toilets in one area then they would need to do it everywhere.

"Given all this and the leader’s response, I look forward to hearing sound, value for money, plans for the much needed upgrade to the toilets in the Berwick area.”

Public toilets in Seahouses.

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Cllr Georgina Hill, Berwick East, Northumberland County Council.