There have been lots of questions regarding what has been happening about the toilets in Victoria Park as they have been closed following a recent spate of vandalism. But there is good news on the horizon as Frome Town Council confirmed plans that the refurbishment of the loos will begin at the start of September.
The decision to close the toilets was taken last week by Frome Town Council in response to further vandalism that has taken place. This has resulted in damage across all cubicles, not to mention graffiti, blocked urinals, damaged flush mechanisms, and more recently the smashed in ceiling meaning there is water leaking in the roof and through the electrical cables rendering them unusable.
Temporary toilets have been considered. However, the cost of both the toilets, the impracticalities of having to have them in a secure compound, and the potential costs of replacing them should they become vandalised is prohibitive. Councillor Mark Dorrington said: “We recognise that it is terrible timing in the school holidays, and we have looked into temporary loos but there is simply not a viable solution. They cost too much to protect and so instead we suggest people use the Town Hall on Monday to Friday and park users are welcome to use the Bowls Club toilets when they are open. It is a temporary situation whilst we wait for the installation of the new toilets.”
The toilets will now not be reopened until after the planned refurbishment as it is just a few weeks away following confirmation that it will begin in September. The tender for the refurbishment of the existing toilets happened last October, inviting companies to bid for the project. A contractor, Danfo, was appointed, with a planning application submitted in March 2023. Approval was finally issued on 14th July which has allowed Danfo to confirm the start date. The new toilets are made of composite material which will mean that the likelihood of vandalism is minimal.
The new designed toilets include a ‘Changing Places’ facility to ensure that the park is accessible to as many people as possible. This has always been a priority for the Council, and the provision of a Changing Places facility will ensure that people with disabilities are able to use the park and the toilets safely and comfortably.
In a departure from the previous facility the decision has also been made to install single entry cubicles. This was based on advice from the appointed contractors Danfo, who are a specialist public toilet provider. Installing single entry cubicles will reduce vandalism inside the public toilet buildings and increase safety of users. The system removes any communal space, so for people with anti-social behaviour in mind, it reduces the space for vandalism to occur and reassures users that nobody is waiting in a communal area. The gender-neutral cubicles will make it far easier for parents to accompany children of the opposite sex to the bathroom.
Danfo the contractor has confirmed a start date the week beginning 4th September and the build will take around 12 weeks to complete. As well as a Changing Places cubicle, there will be two gender-neutral cubicles, one of which will provide disabled access and baby changing facilities. Access to the toilets will be between Mary Baily and Victoria Park for improved safety sight lines and lighting.