Bomb-proof build delays Stortford toilet refurbishment
Work to revamp the Market Square public toilets in Bishops Stortford is around three weeks behind schedule because the conveniences were so difficult to demolish.
Chief executive James Parker told members of town council’s environment and public amenities committee that their solid construction was akin to a bomb shelter and completion of the project, which began in October, was now expected in late February or early March.
The council has earmarked up to £200,000 in its budget for the work which will remove the subterranean element from the structure, allowing ground-level disabled access and Mr Parker said that while costs had increased as a result of the difficulties for Standon’s Novo Contractors, the final bill was still within estimates.
The improved toilets will include a roof terrace above for rent by neighbouring Rosey Lea café.
Mr Parker’s guess that the original building had bomb-proof qualities is borne out by the town’s online archivist Paul Ailey who suggests it was a refuge for residents during German bombing raids.
His website, www.stortfordhistory.co.uk, chronicles the town council and the community during the Second World War and he writes: “In the town there was great concern over continued abuse and damage to the public toilets in Market Square, as well as to the town’s air raid shelters. In answer to the latter the council announced that in future all public air raid shelters would be kept locked until needed, otherwise they wouldn’t be in a fit state for use by anyone. The key to each shelter was to be held by a responsible person living nearby.”