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By Tristan Harris Thursday 24 October 2013 Updated: 24/10 00:04
THE DILAPIDATED toilets at Bromsgrove Cemetery look set to be bulldozed and not replaced after the district council's cabinet recommended their demolition at a cost of £5,000.
The Standard reported back in May how £25,000 had been allocated for the rebuilding and how local firms were being sought to do the work.
But, Bromsgrove District Council leader, Coun Roger Hollingworth, said the quotes the authority received were too high, with the lowest unconditional one being £37,000. There was one lower but there were conditions on it which, Coun Hollingworth said, made it impractical.
He added, even taking into account it was in a Conservation Area and needed to be Disabilities Discrimination Act compliant, he could not believe one unisex disabled toilet could not be built for £25,000.
"All the plumbing and sewage works are in there already," he said.
As part of the cabinet's recommendation, £5,000 of the allocated £25,000 will pay for the demolition and £2,000 has been spent on architect’s fees, building regulation approval, construction drawings, the tendering processes and administering contract with builders.
The remaining £18,000 will be invested in improving the next nearest toilets in Sanders Park.
But the controversial decision has been slammed by resident Angela Price-Hunt and Labours councillors Rory Shannon and Chris Bloore, who campaigned to get the new toilets built.
Mrs Price-Hunt visits the cemetery regularly as her grandparents, parents and son are all there.
She said: “I am shocked the council has gone back on its word - the money was allocated to upgrade these much-needed facilities and they were in a terrible state of disrepair - they should be ashamed."
She added she sometimes took her children there who often needed to use the toilet.
"Children, and those who are not as able-bodied, will struggle to get to the toilets in Sanders Park from there," she added.
Coun Shannon labelled the recommendation, which will go before full council next month, 'disgraceful'.
"Yet again, this authority has said one thing and done another.
"Council leader Roger Hollingworth promised the toilets would be replaced, set aside the money but have failed to get the work done," he said.
Coun Bloore said: “I am deeply disappointed that after 18 months since agreeing at full council that the toilets were substandard and needed replacing they have now gone back on their promise to replace them.
"There are some serious questions for the leader and cabinet to answer on how this farce has come about.
"After 18 months and thousands of pounds later we are now losing yet another facility.”
Coun Hollingworth said the authority even searched twice for local companies to do the work, adding he would prefer the council to use Bromsgrove businesses, where possible. and give them a boost, rather than looking further afield.
But, he said, local firms did not seem interested and the quotes were too high for the work.
"In such difficult economic times it seems a better solution to spend the money on the toilets in Sanders Park which is within easy walking distance of the cemetery,” he added.
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