MAJOR maintenance work at Morpeth Town Hall should be carried out as a matter of urgency, councillors say.
Members of Morpeth Town Council say there is a list of faults and repairs to be addressed in the listed building.
But chief among them is the issue of blocked toilets.
The council’s Property and Asset Management Committee heard that the pipes are blocked about every 12 weeks from the first-floor facilities, causing some of the waste to come through the ceiling and light fittings in the Corn Exchange.
Workers have been out countless times to clear the blockages, but the council says a permanent fix is needed.
Deputy Clerk Angela Logan said: “We do get people putting inappropriate items down the toilet. We have put signs up on all of the doors telling people to put appropriate items in appropriate bins so we do try to manage that, but sometimes when there is a group of 100 people or so in the building for a community event or a wedding a lot of people use the loos and it is too much for them to cope with at times.”
While Morpeth Town Council manages the Town Hall in partnership with Northumberland Registration Services, the building is owned by Northumberland County Council, which is responsible for such repairs.
County Council Head of Property Services Martin Hay accepted that work is necessary, but said it will require budget approval.
He said: “We put a camera inside and what we found, particularly with the pipe that comes over the ceiling and below the floor, is there is not much headroom – the pipe has been put in at such a shallow angle. Because of the shallow angle, it is slowing down waste.
“We need to get money from somewhere to do remedial work. It is pointless going along as it is and every couple of months having someone out to clear the pipes.
“We are looking within the County Hall budget to re-allocate more money to repairs and maintenance. We need to create a budget to do some works to the pipe and we need to get expert advice on the drainage.”
Coun Les Cassie said: “This is a public building. At the very least a public building should have functional toilets. The county council needs to take this very seriously and find the money to fix it.
“You have been talking about this with members of the council for a long time and I’m extremely annoyed that the county council hasn’t fixed it yet. The main requirement should be for the landlord to have toilets that work.”