Horsefair toilets in Wisbech re-open but no likelihood of security manager role being saved

FLASHBACK TO 2014: Centre Manager, Kevin Smith, and cleaning supervisor from the Horsefair, Peter Ba

FLASHBACK TO 2014: Centre Manager, Kevin Smith, and cleaning supervisor from the Horsefair, Peter Balls, cut the ribbon to re-open the Centre’s toilets. No such ceremony has been planned for the re-opening four years later. - Credit: Archant

Nearly six months after they were closed because of anti social behaviour, the public toilets in the Horsefair centre at Wisbech have re-opened.

A spokesman for New River who own the centre said: “We can confirm that the toilets at the Horsefair have reopened.

“We appreciate the inconvenience that the closure may have caused people but shopper safety is always our priority and anti-social behaviour meant that we could no longer guarantee this.”

The spokesman added: “We have put measures in place to help counter the anti-social behaviour so have reopened the toilets on a trial basis. If there are any further incidents we will again review the situation”.

The toilets were closed earlier this year because of “ongoing and unacceptable antisocial behaviour and misuse of the facilities”.

They had previously been closed for a year between 2013/14 and upgraded.

However the centre management is still refusing to rescind the decision to axe the security guard, Roger Vanhinsbergh, who will be made redundant from September 15.

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He has worked for 15 years at the Horsefair and is widely regarded as having played a major part in combating anti social behaviour in the centre.

A petition to retain him is being widely circulated by New River have indicated there are unlikely to reverse their decision which has seen similar posts axed at their other centres across the UK.

Horsefair centre manager, Kevin Smith, said: “The decision has been made by the owners of the Horsefair to close the post of security officer, which is a role that has been fulfilled by Roger Vanhinsbergh for the past 14 years.

“Roger has always gone above and beyond his role, taking care of the entire town centre not just the Horsefair.

“Over the past 14 years Roger has worked tirelessly in the shopping centre and around the wider Wisbech area.

“His approach to the difficult scenarios that he has faced has always been extremely professional. I can honestly say that it’s been an honour to work with him and I wish him all the very best for the future.

Mr Vanhinsbergh said: “It is a cost cutting exercise; I shall be made redundant from September 15. I am hoping that something positive will come out of this…there is life in the old dog yet!”

Speculation that the town council might step in to help pay for the services of a security guard at Horsefair was dismissed by town council chairman Sam Hoy. She was aware the idea had been discussed locally but there simply wasn’t the money available to support such an enterprise.