Belfast Telegraph

Anger after £120k 'flushed away' on village's superloo

By Rebecca Black

A 'superloo' installed in a Co Tyrone village has been blasted for "flushing away" almost £120,000 of ratepayers' money.

The public convenience was moved from Omagh to Fintona - a village with just slightly more than 1,000 residents - and on a spot beside former toilets around six years ago.

The Ulster Herald reported the toilet had cost the public £119,000 in the past six years.

The local newspaper said it had generated just £1,361 in the same period.

The toilet was first installed at Johnston Park in Omagh 21 years ago before being moved to Fintona following criticism that it did not represent value for money.

Now it is set to go on the move again and, in another twist to the tale, the old toilets it was meant to replace are set to be refurbished.

In 2015, it was reported that the superloo had cost £17 per use, with an indication that local people preferred to go elsewhere to 'spend a penny'.

The Taxpayers' Alliance condemned the costs and said the superloo had "represented nothing but ratepayers' money being flushed away".

Independent councillor Sorcha McAnespy, who is from Fintona, said the village deserved proper investment.

She said local people disliked the public toilet because of where it was placed - in the historic heart of the community.

"For some unknown reason, they brought the loo and placed it there, " she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I didn't think it was a very appropriate place (and was not) what the people actually wanted.

"I don't think people like the idea of having to pay to use the toilet. Now it just seems to be a very expensive advertising board.

"I grew up in Fintona. Although I am a councillor for Omagh, I always make sure to speak up for Fintona. It has such a vibrant community that deserves to be supported."

Ms McAnespy went on to say that the people of Fintona had been working hard to revitalise the area ,and said she would like to see investment to support their efforts.

She said the area had a great history, such as the Fintona horse tram, which she would like to see recognised.

A spokesman for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council defended the cost of the convenience.

They said the small charge to use it was not designed to cover its running costs.

"The existing public convenience is to remain in place until the new facilities are built," the spokesman said.

"Planning permission for the new facilities has been granted, with the project going to tender in the coming weeks.

"The small charge to use these public facilities was designed to regulate usage, not to cover running costs of the facility."

Belfast Telegraph

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