More than £15,000 has been spent on rectifying damage which was caused by a fire in a public toilet in the Moorlands. The ladies loos in Leek’s Bus Station in the Smithfield Centre were victim of an arson attack in March this year. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has now revealed that it has cost a total of £15,347 to repair the toilets, which had only received a major refurbishment in February of this year.
More than £15,000 has been spent on rectifying damage which was caused by a fire in a public toilet in the Moorlands.
The ladies loos in Leek’s Bus Station in the Smithfield Centre were victim of an arson attack in March this year. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has now revealed that it has cost a total of £15,347 to repair the toilets, which had only received a major refurbishment in February of this year.
At a meeting of the SMDC Service Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting on Wednesday, November 3, councillor Keith Hoptroff asked the following question: “Having investing £90,000 in February this year to refurbish the Leek Bus Station toilet facilities, the ladies toilet remains closed since early March following a fire.
“The Leek Town Mayor councillor Lyn Swindlehurst has been approached by visitors from Stafford, Cannock and Nottingham, who whilst they love to visit Leek will not do so in the future as our facilities are below their expectations.
“When will the facilities that have been heavily invested in be reopened to ensure the regeneration of our town does not suffer?”
In response, councillor Andrew Hart said: “The council completed the refurbishment works of the Smithfield WCs in August 2020 at a cost of just over £100,000. These works were specified not only to invest in the quality of the service provision but also to combat the anti-social behaviour and vandalism and high repair costs that has been an ongoing problem at these WCs for a number of years.
“Despite this, the ladies toilets was subject to an extraordinary act of vandalism in March 2021 when it was intentionally set on fire. Both the Police and our insurance company were informed.
“The insurance claim was approved in June this year and the order was raised for the repair works at a cost of £15,347.18.
“The work was delayed due to the ongoing issues with materials and labour that is being felt strongly in all areas of the construction industry at the moment, but work did start in August.
“The work has now been completed and the WCs are now open again. The Silk Street WCs have been open and available for the public to use during this period.
Cllr Hart added: “Through these periods of anti-social behaviour and vandalism, the council’s Assets and Community Safety team have worked with the Police and understand it is a particular problem with youth crime, although the Police are not able to bring any prosecutions.
“Discussions have also covered the potential for the public realm CCTV to cover this area, but this is not available at the moment.
“Officers are investigating alternative options including installation of a standalone CCTV System to determine if this will be a suitable deterrent, but of course it is not possible to install CCTV inside the WCs themselves due to privacy issues.”
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