Superloos drain £2m from Uttlesford's coffers

PUBLISHED: 09:05 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:54 31 May 2010

A CASH-STRAPPED council is spending nearly £2million of taxpayer s money on three public toilet blocks. Described by officers as Superloos the three conveniences drain Uttlesford District Council coffers of £75,000 per year. As the council is tied into

A CASH-STRAPPED council is spending nearly £2million of taxpayer's money on three public toilet blocks.

Described by officers as 'Superloos' the three conveniences drain Uttlesford District Council coffers of £75,000 per year.

As the council is tied into a 25-year lease, the toilets cost £625,000 each over that period.

Located at the car parks at Swan Meadow and the Common car park in Saffron Walden, and in Lower Street in Stansted, the toilets were taken over by the council 12 years ago to provide the public with improved facilities and to stop people urinating in car parks and out on the street.

Yet despite the threat of staff job cuts and the council having to outsource services to other providers just to stay afloat, it cannot terminate the 25-year lease of which it is only halfway through.

A council spokesman said: "The council currently leases three Superloos at a total cost of £75,000 per year, including cleaning and maintenance - but we are not unique in this respect.

"When these toilets were installed, there was an identified need for public conveniences at these locations, not least of which was to stop people urinating in the car parks.

"The Superloos scheme also avoided the considerable cost of constructing and maintaining three brand new 'traditional' public toilets at the same locations."

The toilets do provide revenue for the council in the form of users paying 20p per visit, but this is insignificant compared to the amount spent on the conveniences each year.

"The 20p charge is really a side issue to be honest as this council, and councils in general don't always charge for using public conveniences," the UDC spokesman added.

"We believe that providing conveniences is historically more about public health, preventing antisocial behaviour and providing facilities in places where the public often expect to find them."

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