Horsefair toilets will stay closed until ‘practical solution’ is found to anti-social behaviour issues

PUBLISHED: 09:41 15 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:51 15 August 2014

The bus station at the Horsefair Shopping Centre.

The bus station at the Horsefair Shopping Centre.

Archant

Public toilets at the Horsefair Shopping Centre will not reopen until the owners find a “practical solution” to combat the anti-social behaviour that forced their closure.

The toilets at the Wisbech centre have been closed since June last year after what was described by owners NewRiver Retail as a “substantial” increase in anti-social behaviour.

Incidents included drug taking and alcohol consumption, flooding due to blocked plug holes, taps left running and sexual activities.

It also said a pay-on-entry system was set to be introduced as a last resort.

However, their ongoing closure was criticised this week by Wisbech county councillor Alan Lay, who called for them to re-open as soon as possible.

In a letter to NewRiver Retail, Cllr Lay said: “Your toilets have been closed for more than a year, this is unacceptable.

“I demand that you let me know when firm action will be taken, i.e. date of installations, what types will be installed, that the disabled will be catered for.

“Do you not understand that many of the customers that use the shopping centre visit by bus, and the first thing many of them require is a toilet.

“It is a hygiene situation as well as comfort that must be considered. The local shops are not happy with many people using their toilets.

“A lack of toilets at a bus terminus at Wisbech makes it appear that your company could be partly responsible for reduction of trade. A number of visitors are vowing never to return.

“This must be rectified as soon as possible.”

In response, a spokesman for NewRiver Retail said: “Unfortunately, due to ongoing unacceptable extreme anti-social behaviour, we were forced to close the toilets at the Horsefair Shopping Centre in 2013.

“Since then we have been working to find a practical solution that will resolve the situation and prevent further incidents occurring in the future. We are currently exploring all options available to us and have met with Fenland District Council and Wisbech Town Council to discuss what can be done.

“The centre management fully appreciates the frustrations of its shoppers, but our priority is, as always, the welfare and protection of our shoppers and until we can guarantee their safety the toilets will remain closed.

“Disabled facilities are accessible using a radar key and alternative toilets are available a short walk from the centre in the District Council car park.”

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