In 2016, the town’s Council took over all the public toilets in Newport and Carisbrooke when the Isle of Wight Council ceased to run them.
Post Office Lane was quickly identified as being the toilets in most need of upgrading, given the general condition and having the highest footfall of all the locations. Rather than refurbish, a new building was deemed to be more appropriate to provide clean and modern facilities.
Users will now have to pay 40p to spend a penny, which can be by coins or contactless payment. The toilets were previously free.
The scheme has cost £190,000, of which £160,000 has been financed by a Public Works Loan over 10 years. The lifespan of the toilets is estimated at 40-50 years, as the modular design means individual components can be replaced when needed. Running costs are also reduced due to energy, consumables, maintenance and water savings.
A more attractive public space has been created with new landscaping, planting and the building has a green roof planted with sedum to create an area to encourage wildlife, fitting in perfectly with Newport being the capital of the Isle of Wight Biosphere. The building has also been clad with enamelled sheets which gives a light, bright, long lasting and easy to maintain finish.
NCCC worked closely with local businesses, architects and planners Christopher Scott, vitreous enamellers AJ Wells and Emerald Construction.
The site threw up some challenges due to its location down a narrow lane and an archaeological inspection was required before the new foundations could be laid. Most challenging was craning in the large, prefabricated building and thanks go to the now-closed Prezzo for the use of their car park. A crane had to be brought over from the mainland due to the size needed.
Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Chair of Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council and member for Newport Central, has said:
“When we took over the public toilets in Newport and Carisbrooke it was immediately clear that the condition of the Post Office Lane facilities meant they would need replacing, with modern and fit for purpose toilets.
“It’s taken a while and a significant investment but the result is such a marked change, with the clean toilets, new public space, planting and attractive enamel cladding from AJ Wells. Instead of being an embarrassment these new toilets are something to be proud of and more in keeping with our status as the County Town .”
Councillor Steve Hastings, Chair of the Newport & Carisbrooke Community Council Assets & Facilities Committee, added:
“It is really good to finally see this project completed to give residents of Newport and Carisbrooke the quality facilities and landscape they deserve”.
Jon Gilby, Isle of Wight representative for Danfo UK, who manufactured the building, says:
“This new facility is great news for Newport, bringing another Island location into the 21st Century. Danfo have now delivered Shanklin, Gurnard and Yarmouth with other locations on the cards to start very soon, offering sustainable, accessible and eco-friendly custom toilet options that seem a world apart from the old smelly and somewhat problematic facilities we seem to have been left with.
“I’m extremely pleased along with Danfo UK to be able to assist and support Community, Town and Parish Councils with these changes and options moving forward”.