Radio Times unblocks local toilet stalemate

Essex village gets its lavs back after supplement causes massive influx

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In Tollesbury, Essex, residents and tourists are breathing a sigh of relief: the village’s public toilets are to reopen a year after the local council closed them down. And it wouldn’t have happened without Radio Times.

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For councillor Robert Long, a protracted struggle came to an end this week when it was confirmed that the conveniences – shut by Maldon District Council because the annual £3,000 running costs were deemed insupportable – would return to public use.

“It’s been a long battle but we’re incredibly pleased,” said Long. “I’ve been fighting for the toilets to be reopened ever since they were closed around a year ago.”

The village was featured in Radio Times magazine’s 25 February Great Walks supplement, which pointed out to fans of the BBC1 drama Great Expectations that some of the series had been filmed in Tollesbury. As hundreds of RT readers descended on the area, the need for public toilets became acute.

“Opening the toilets is the sensible option because the Radio Times published an article about a walk in Tollesbury based on Great Expectations being filmed here,” district councillor Russell Porter told the Essex Chronicle. “It’s brought so many extra people to the area that the toilets are a must. We can’t have an increase in tourism and not provide the adequate services.”

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The toilets had remained closed despite reports that disappointed patrons had defecated outside the defunct facility. “The decision to reopen them has meant that the council has acknowledged there was human fouling on the land, which just was not acceptable,” said local resident Angela Nixon. “I am jubilant.”