The Cost of Evington’s Three Toilets

Public toilets provide a vital public service in that they allow the public to relieve themselves in public spaces. But the question remains, why do public toilets cost more to build than the homes we live in?

The costs of toilets came to light in August 2015, when local Labour councillor Deepak Bajaj announced at an Evington ward meeting that work a much-needed public toilet block was due “to commence on 28 September 2015 and [was] due for completion on 15 January 2016. It was said that the cost would be £200,000.” This cost evidently surprised local residents and…

“Attendees at the meeting requested a breakdown of the costs, details of the tender and who would be contracted to do the work. It was noted that Councillor Bajaj would obtain these details and report the information at the next meeting.”

Miraculously upon asking for this information, the cost of building the garage sized toilet block was reduced substantially, although no details of the tender were ever reproduced in the minutes of the subsequent ward meeting. Thus in November 2015, Councillor Bajaj came back to local constituents with slightly better news. The minutes of the ward meeting noted:

Following new tenders and negotiations with contractors, the updated cost for the installation of the new public toilet facilities in Evington Park was now reported to be £147,341.00 for the construction cost including contingency and £32,985.00 for fees, surveys, building control and due diligence.”

But the question still remains, why must the public pay still through the nose for the construction of public toilets? We need more of them, of that there can be no doubt, but why should they cost so much to build?

One comment

  1. I remember this very well. Things are even worse now there are no Ward meetings to question how money is being spent. The three councillors also used to get about £18,000 a year to spend on projects, but without any accountability, we don’t know if this money is being spent properly.

    I was part of the campaign to get these toilets, which was opposed by the Park officers who delayed it all by requesting newt surveys, etc. In the end it surprised me that the toilets were built at all. There is a picture in the Evington Echo with Keith Vaz there officially opening these toilets!

    I am glad you are questioning this because there should be much better scrutiny when public money is spent. Your article makes me think there may have been some backhanders here. Bajaj should have come forward with all the costing and evidence, otherwise it is not surprising I for one is suspicious.

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