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Plan to knock down Norwich toilet hits the skids

The toilets in St Saviours Lane have been spared the axe.

The toilets in St Saviours Lane have been spared the axe.

Archant © 2009

A set of public toilets which had been threatened with demolition have been spared the axe, after councillors decided they were worth saving.

The toilets, in St Saviours Lane, near Magdalen Street, are still set to close this weekend, but city councillors decided to mothball them, rather than knock them down.

Norwich City Council had wanted to demolish the toilets to create extra spaces in the car park next door.

But civic watchdog Norwich Society argued that the loos, which are believed to date back to the late 1950s and have an unusual chequerboard brick pattern, had architectural merit and should be saved.

The Norwich Historic Churches Trust, which leases nearby St Saviour’s Church, has also raised concern that the closure will lead to people urinating in the churchyard.

English Heritage had said the building did not fulfil the criteria for listing in “a national context” and officers had recommended that the toilets be demolished.

Yet, at a meeting of the city council’s planning committee yesterday, councillors agreed to save them from the bulldozer.

They turned down the application on the grounds that the toilet building makes a “significant contribution” to a conservation area and the loss of it would be harmful to the area’s character.

While the toilets will still be closed to the public this weekend, as part of efforts at City Hall to save money, committee members said it was better to mothball them than lose them for good.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, said: “I accept they are not going to be used as such, but circumstances might change and in a few years the money might be there to bring them back into use.

“I think we should leave them there for the forseeable future, albeit, boarded up.”

Stephen Little, Green city councillor for Town Close, had questioned what the building added to the conservation area and said he feared they would be vandalised once they are boarded up.

But councillors decided to refuse the application for demolition, by eight votes to two.

• Do you think the toilets were worth saving? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletter@archant.co.uk

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