FRUSTRATION is the word of the day, or rather month – or even months, for everyone involved with the toilet blocks on Lion Green.
What began as a fantastic idea for a much-needed facility for residents and visitors to Lion Green has become a site of much contention.
Work commenced on the toilets in January of this year, with a completion date scheduled for March. Then because of contractor mistakes, the completion date was pushed back to May.
Now it is September and there is still no clear end date for when the toilets will be finished.
It has been an ongoing saga with first the toilet’s foundations being laid in the wrong place, then the new foundation hole filling with water leading to the creation of the ‘Haslemere Lido’ on Google Maps, and delays, delays, delays.
The council feels let down by the contractors. And some residents feel let down by the council.
It has become a mess that should be reserved for the toilet bowl.
The project to install public toilets on Lion Green was initiated by the town council because it was identified by many residents as a seriously needed facility in the area.
While no resident has complained about the need for the toilets, several complaints have been raised over its “eyesore” appearance and “dangerous” location.
Haslemere resident, Joe Poulter, submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the council asking if government consent had been obtained to build on a village green and if a visual impact survey had been carried out.
Neither were. But according to the law protecting village greens from development, no special permission is required if the planned works are to improve the green for visitors’ enjoyment.
The council explained it chose the area to be “convenient to users” and to be “near existing water and drainage connections” to reduce cost to the taxpayer. The council considered tree damage and “preservation of the sightlines around the M&S junction”.
The council said the planners agreed the location and granted planning consent. But many residents are extremely angry with the location, stating that it is dangerous because children in the playground would have to cross the M&S junction to reach it, with the pub owner now being unable to sell because of the “eyesore” in front of his pub.
The council said: “We really hope that people can wait and see what it looks like when it is completed.”
The council explained it has been as frustrated as residents about the delays to the toilet’s completion and is working hard to get the contractors back to complete the job.
The town clerk added: “One parent told me her child who has a bowel disorder has been prevented from playing football with friends on Lion Green because of no nearby toilets.
“That family can’t wait for the toilets to open and there are many others for whom the new facility will be a real benefit when it is finished.”