Dereham councillor protests over toilet demolition

Harry Clarke outside the Cowper Road car park toilets

Labour town and district councillor protested the toilets' demolition on Monday, saying "Dereham deserves better" than just one toilet. - Credit: Noah Vickers

A councillor has said his town is "bursting" for more loos as a set of public toilets are set for demolition. 

The toilets, located in Dereham’s Cowper Road car park, are due to be knocked down by Breckland District Council (BDC) on Wednesday in order to make space for more parking, but Labour councillor Harry Clarke said the town needed more toilets, not fewer.

“I appear to be the only district councillor in Dereham calling for better toilets - how long do we have to hold on for?” said Mr Clarke.

Mr Clarke's placard, outside the Cowper Road car park toilets

Mr Clarke's placard read: "Dereham Deserves Better! Bursting for new + extra loos! New + better toilets please! Don't flush ££ away on car park spaces..." - Credit: Noah Vickers

“With the growth of Dereham, and the various plans to improve the town centre, shouldn't Breckland step up to the plate?” 

Cowper Road car park toilets in Dereham

The toilets at Cowper Road car park, pictured prior to their demolition this week. - Credit: Noah Vickers

The building was closed when BDC decided to transfer management of its public toilets to the local town councils, with any toilets not taken over by the town councils to be closed permanently. 


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According to Dereham Town Council (DTC), the town was only given enough funding to continue running one of the town’s two sets of toilets - and DTC chose to keep open the toilets at Barwells Court, located down an alleyway from the Market Place.

Breckland councillor Paul Hewett, executive member for property and projects, said: “The building at Cowper Road car park has not been used as a public toilet for around 14 years and is currently in poor condition. 

Harry Clarke outside the Cowper Road car park toilets

Labour town and district councillor protested the toilets' demolition on Monday, saying "Dereham deserves better" than just one toilet. - Credit: Noah Vickers

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“We have therefore taken this opportunity to safely remove it, while reconfiguring the car park layout, creating extra spaces and improving drainage.

“As a council, we have not operated public toilets in the district for some time, though we previously worked with each of the town councils and provided each with a sum so they could consider the best local solution for each town.

Breckland councillor Paul Hewett.
Photo: Breckland Council

Breckland councillor Paul Hewett. Photo: Breckland Council - Credit: Archant Ltd.

He added: “We recently launched a new piece of work to assess the unique strengths and challenges of each of our towns, which will be used to form a strategic plan for the future of our towns and overall district, which will ensure Breckland can continue to thrive.”

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