Vandalism in public toilets causes flooding

Visitors to Alnwick’s food and beer festivals may not have been impressed when the time came to spend a penny this weekend.

There were reports that in the public toilets in The Shambles, long the source of complaints from businesses and residents alike, there was flooding in the ladies’. The state of the toilets was also described at ‘disgraceful’.

When the Gazette posted a video from the food festival on our Facebook page on Saturday, Helen Kelly commented: “Shame about the state of the public toilets shocking for visitors let alone locals.”

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman explained that the problems were due to vandalism.

The toilet bowl in the baby-changing unit had been kicked off the floor and this caused the flooding.

The council’s property maintenance team are dealing with it as a matter of priority and it should be fixed by the weekend.

The toilets are in the midst of a £12,700 refurbishment funded by £3,700 from the county council and £3,000 each from Alnwick Town Council and county councillors Heather Cairns and Gordon Castle.

At the June meeting of Alnwick Town Council, members were warned that the money would not stretch to a full refurbishment.

Coun Gordon Castle said that items such as new toilets, a complete re-tiling or new fittings are not on the cards and that it was more likely to include things such as new cubicles, new hand-dryers, a deep clean and tidy and other cosmetic improvements.

A finish date for the works was originally set for the start of the school summer holidays, but the council spokeswoman explained that the final work – installing the new cubicles and doors – required the toilets to be closed and they have been so busy over the summer that the authority did not want to do this. The work should be done by early October.

The rest of the work – air fresheners, ventilation and decoration – has been completed.