£261,000 investment in Sheffield public loos flushed away

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
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COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of ‘flushing away’ £261,000 spent on revamping public toilets - which are now being closed due to the cuts.

Sheffield Council is closing seven recently-refurbished toilets, at Chapeltown, Bradfield, Rivelin Post Office, Abbey Lane, Meadowhead, Fox House and Burngreave.

The sites at Rivelin and Abbey Lane were completely rebuilt in 2008 and 2009, at a total cost of £143,000.

Chapeltown toilets received a complete refurbishment at a cost of £80,000 as recently as 2010. All will be shut-up and abandoned.

The Labour-run council said it needs to make the closures to save £68,000 a year in running costs, as part of £50 million cuts being made in the 2013/14 financial year.

Liberal Democrats are challenging the decision to close the toilets.

The saving compares to the £80,000 equivalent salary of a recently appointed ‘Director of Integration’ appointed to help bring management of housing back under control.

Coun Ian Auckland, Lib Dem councillor for Graves Park ward, which includes the Abbey Lane area, said: “Local residents fought long and hard for new community toilets on Abbey Lane.

“I’m proud that we were able to invest in new facilities. Closing those toilets just a few years later would be like flushing that investment down the bog.”

Colin Taylor, former Lib Dem councillor for East Ecclesfield and who lives in Chapeltown, added: “Just a few years ago, Chapeltown toilets were given a complete refurbishment – something that had been lacking for years. To close them down doesn’t make sense.

“It really does show Labour’s attitude to taxpayers’ money that they are letting this investment go to waste.”

Labour said the cuts - including toilet closures - are down to ‘unfair’ cuts imposed by the coalition Government.

The party claims Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg should have ‘stood up for Sheffield’ and campaigned for the city council to receive smaller cuts.

Sheffield Council claims it is receiving bigger cuts than councils in the south east - but the coalition said those authorities have smaller budgets in the first place.

Toilet improvements:

* Chapeltown: £80,000 spent 2010 Complete refurbishment.

* Bradfield: £20,000 spent 2005-2012 New ‘wallgates’ – soap, water and hand dryer machines – and sewage treatment.

* Rivelin Post Office: £70,000 spent 2008. Full demolition and new buildings provided.

* Abbey Lane: £73,000 spent 2009 Demolition of old toilets and new buildings constructed.

* Meadowhead:£4,000 spent 2008 Provision of new wallgates.

* Fox House: £10,000 spent 2008 Project involved providing water treatment equipment and solar panels.

* Burngreave: £4,000 spent 2008 New wallgates.

* Total investment of £261,000 by the council at the seven toilet sites.