Beauty spot toilets cause refurbishment confusion

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Confusion over who should refurbish Mousehold Heath toilets - Credit: Bill Smith, Archant Norfolk ©

Possible refurbishment work to public toilets at a Norwich beauty spot remains undecided, thanks to confusion surrounding who is responsible for such improvements.

Improvement works for toilets at Gurney Road car park, in Mousehold Heath, were discussed on Friday. This is the second time the plans have gone before the Mousehold Heath Conservators, a group that oversees the 184-acre site.

Now questions have been raised about who should be responsible for the work.

At Friday's meeting, John Trevelyan, a conservator, questioned whether the group was even responsible for refurbishing the toilets. 

“My understanding is that the pavilion, and therefore the toilets, actually belong to the city council," he said.

“We pay for cleaning and minor repairs but I’m not convinced that makes us responsible for any major works.” 

Mr Trevelyan also pointed out that the city council has access to community infrastructure levy funding - a charge on housing developments - which could be used to help pay for the refurbishment.  

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Plans for improvements were previously heard in March but were deferred for the cost of work to be established.

However, a report to the conservators said a formal quotation for the various options has not yet been received, with officers speculating this was due to services being transferred from the county council to one owned by City Hall.

Four options have been put forward for the toilets, including shutting them completely, keeping them as they are, or carrying out refurbishments to improve the toilets.

Officers recommended shutting the women's toilet for it to be converted into an equipment store for wardens. The men's toilets would be made mixed-gender and feature baby changing and disabled access.

The group agreed for the officers to pursue finding costs and who was responsible for the refurbishment.

Gurney Road's toilet blocks were built around 1901 alongside the pavilion, serving visitors to the heath. 

They currently provide one men's toilet, one women's toilet, one disabled toilet, cold water handwashing but no drying facilities. 

A report to the conservators described the toilets as being in a "very poor and unwelcoming" state and suffering from a "low" amount of vandalism.