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‘Eyesore’ toilet blocks to be demolished

FROME Town Council has welcomed the news that action will be taken on five redundant toilet blocks in the town that have been labelled an ‘embarrassment’ and an ‘eyesore’.

Three of the toilet blocks – at Cork Street car park;  Gorehedge and Merchants Barton (opposite the Kingsway Centre) – will be demolished by the end of the summer. Whilst the two toilet blocks in the car park near Badcox will be repaired and will continue to be used as storage for the market and to store street cleansing equipment.

The news was announced at last month’s Town Matters meeting by the deputy leader of Mendip District Council, cllr Tom Killen, after a passionate plea by town councillor Mel Usher. “There are five toilet blocks in question, we’ve been banging on for the last seven years about either improving them, or getting rid of them,” said cllr Usher. “I think at one point  we asked if we could have them so we (Frome Town Council) could deal with them – they are all owned by the district council and nothing’s happened – they’ve become a little bit more secure than they used to be.

“For some of them, they are the first sight of Frome for visitors who come into the car parks where at least three of them are located and to be honest, I think it is an embarrassment. I think it is an embarrassment to a public body that actually professes to encourage prosperity within the town  and to leave these buildings derelict in the manner that they have – and I don’t think that we should allow this to continue.”

In response, cllr Killen said, “You’ve got five toilet blocks under consideration, more than under consideration as I can update you exactly.

“The two toilet blocks at Badcox aren’t that much of an eyesore, but are being used in association with the market to store equipment and in support of the street cleansing contract and it is not proposed to take any action on those toilets.

“As far as the others, which are Gorehedge, Cork Street and Merchants Barton, I totally agree that they are an eyesore and we have been going through a procurement exercise to appoint contractors to demolish them as quickly as possible and we are very close to that happening.  I would envisage them coming down within a few weeks.

“Merchants Barton and Cork Street will be coming down at the same time. Gorehedge, as you will appreciate, will be slightly more difficult to do as it will be done by hand. But that will be done at the same time.

“There have been delays in getting to this stage since the beginning of the year because of utility services – particularly Merchants Barton – the electricity supply is connected to all the street lighting.

“We are committed to removing them and reinstating the surface of where they sit to a satisfactory standard. So the eyesore will be removed certainly by the end of summer.”

It is hoped that once cleared, the site of the toilet blocks could provide extra parking space where possible.

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