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Fenland town's shopping centre toilets set to re-open three years after they closed



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Toilets in a town's shopping centre are set to re-open within months or even weeks if all goes according to plan.

Wisbech Town Council has finally agreed terms with NewRiver, owners of the Horsefair Shopping Centre, which will see the toilets adjacent to the bus station re-open.

Town councillors are set to discuss the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle at Monday's (24) meeting, which will hopefully see them agree the opening times for the facility.

Wisbech Town Council is taking over the running of the Horsefair Shopping Centre loos adjacent to the bus station.
Wisbech Town Council is taking over the running of the Horsefair Shopping Centre loos adjacent to the bus station.

Terry Jordan, council clerk, has been negotiating with NewRiver, a real estate investment trust, about the possibility of re-opening the loos, which have been closed for the last three years.

He said discussions began as long ago as last February and it has take almost 12 months to finally agree the terms of the lease, which will hopefully be signed shortly.

Mr Jordan explained the toilets will be supervised, and a person has been chosen for the role, which will hopefully prevent the issues of anti-social behaviour including drug dealing and taking that saw the facility closed in January 2019.

Wisbech shopping centre loos are set to re-open with the town council footing the bill.
Wisbech shopping centre loos are set to re-open with the town council footing the bill.

It will cost shoppers and visitors to the town 20p to spend a penny in the Horsefair toilets, but Mr Jordan said: "At the moment people in the town centre have limited choice. They can go into Costa and spend £3 on a coffee just so they can use the toilets, or they have to restrict the time they spend in town.

"Hopefully having toilets, that are supervised, clean and conveniently sited will encourage more visitors to the town and also people to stay longer than they do at the moment.

"It will be great for the Horsefair and the town centre as a whole because it will hopefully bring in more footfall.

"It is going to cost the council around £36,000 a year - depending on the opening times councillors agree. That works out as under a fiver a year for a Band D property, which will pay £4.60. The majority of homes in Wisbech are in Band A and the cost for them will be £3.07.

"At the end of the year we will be able to look at the costs as we will have a better understanding of the income from people using the toilets.

"Currently we are estimating it will cost £36,000 to keep the toilets open but users are expected bring in an income of around £6,504, meaning the town council will be left with a bill of around £30,000."

There are a number of suggestions for the toilet opening times with the Horsefair centre manager Kevin Smith proposing 9am to 2pm as the best times for the toilets to be open.

However, some councillors would like to see them open from 10am to 4pm.

Whatever the decision Mr Jordan said as soon as that is agreed and the lease is signed the council is ready to open the toilets, and he hopes they will be functioning before spring.



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