A NEW toilet block could help prevent vandalism at Ellesmere Port Market Hall.
Borough chiefs want to provide the new loos specifically for shoppers at a cost of 20p per visit.
Customers presently have to use the ones provided for the traders. And their use has “exceeded expectations”, says officers.
But these toilets are also regularly vandalised, along with the nearby flea market area which is to be blocked off on non-trading days.
Julie Powell, council property unit manager, said in a council report: “The toilet provision is not sufficient to meet the needs of the market.
“Toilets are already provided in the market for traders and cafe customers. Their use has exceeded expectations.
“A scheme of upgrading them is proposed. This will provide separate toilets for market traders, which will have controlled access.
“The existing toilet facilities will be upgraded to provide additional ladies’ toilets, and a refurbishment. The toilets are subject to regular vandalism.
“The provision of separate traders’ toilets will ensure they will always have an adequate provision.”
Two shop units will be lost to accommodate the new toilet block, but these were extra spaces anyway and used to form part of the old bakery.
Mrs Powell said these units were isolated from the rest, had proved difficult to let and are currently used for storage.
She added: “At present, no charge is made to shoppers for using the toilet facilities in the market, or in the new Asda Supercentre.
“Since they opened, the use of the town centre toilets – where a charge of 20p a time is made – has halved.
“Following completion of this work on the new toilet block it will be possible to install turnstiles, similar to those in the town centre toilets, to enable a charge to be made.
“We suggest the council considers introducing a charge of 20p per use of the market customer toilets, and any future charge be in line with the charging policy for public toilets.
“The income generated will replace the income lost from the storage area.
“The proposed works also allows for the flea market to be closed to the public on non-flea days, thus reducing the problems of vandalism.
“The use of barriers to control access will hopefully help to reduce the abuse of the facilities.
“This proved to be the case with the town centre toilets after the installation of the same system.”