Shed blaze

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others -

Fire crews were called to douse flames after a shed caught fire in South Ash­ford at 3am on Mon­day this week. Two en­gines were sent to Wa­ter­cress Lane where there are a group of a dozen sheds, though only one caught fire. A fire brigade spokesman said the shed door was open when they ar­rived, and it is not known what caused the blaze. An Ash­ford grand­fa­ther has slammed the de­ci­sion by Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil to close the pub­lic toi­lets in the Vicarage Lane car park by the end of July.

The move comes as lo­cal busi­nesses will be of­fered money to al­low the pub­lic to use their fa­cil­i­ties as part of a “com­mu­nity toi­let scheme”. The coun­cil are also re­view­ing the fu­ture of the New Rents toi­lets in the town cen­tre.

Ge­orge Galdies, 80, of South Ash­ford parks in the Vicarage Lane car park four to five times a week and has to use the coun­cil-owned toi­lets of­ten as he takes water tablets.

Mr Galdies said: “It’s dis­gust­ing this is hap­pen­ing.

“The pub­lic are pay­ing for these toi­lets and get­ting noth­ing in re­turn.”

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) has cited van­dal­ism and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour as one of the rea­sons for the clo­sure of the Vicarage Lane toi­lets clo­sure - some­thing Mr Galdies dis­agrees with.

He said: “The coun­cil is ly­ing through their nose when they say the toi­lets are van­dalised. They are filthy, but rarely do they suf­fer from van­dal­ism. When you have to go you have to go.”

Un­der al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments, ABC says t hat in ex­change for open­ing their toi­lets to the pub­lic, shops, cafes and restau­rants will be paid a small an­nual fee. Res­i­dents will see which busi­nesses al­low them to use their toi­lets with a sticker on the front win­dow.

De­tails of where the near­est loos are lo­cated will be tem­po­rar­ily dis­played at ex­ist­ing pub­lic toi­lets.

An ABC spokesman said: “The Com­mu­nity Toi­let Scheme will of­fer safe, clean and pleas­ant toi­lets in the heart of the town cen­tre and many of the fa­cil­i­ties will ex­ceed the open­ing hours of the ex­ist­ing pub­lic toi­lets.

“At present the pub­lic toi­lets in New Rents and Vicarage Lane close at 5pm, whereas fa­cil­i­ties in the com­mu­nity toi­let scheme will re­main open un­til much later in the evening.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thekm group.co.uk

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM4354198

Ge­orge Galdies is an­gry at pro­pos­als to shut the Vicarage Lane pub­lic toi­lets

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