The project aims to address, in part, the under provision of off-street car parking in the village. Lavenham is promoted as a tourist destination and included as such in the emerging Babergh Mid-Suffolk Joint Local Plan and is also a Core Village. With its range of shops and hostelries it serves a large hinterland of surrounding villages and hamlets, it also draws visitors from further afield.
On-street car parking is at best inconvenient to residents and is on occasions dangerous. Additional car parking is also required as the village expands within the Joint Local Plan. With an aged population and visitors from near and far we are obliged to provide safe, clean and flexible lavatories that meet today’s standards and are future proofed. In addition, related costs need to be managed and mitigated. These toilets will be gender neutral and disability compliant with baby changing facilities in each.
To meet today’s climate change priorities the provision of electric charging points should be available to all. These are a necessity and again any provision needs to be future proofed. Therefore, this supports; residents, the local economy, the emerging JLP and climate change priorities.
The proposal is to add to the number of off-street car parking spaces by at least 10 if not 12 spaces, to add electric charging points and to upgrade the current poorly performing public lavatories, which are also difficult and expensive to maintain. The electric charging points and reduction in operating costs of the public conveniences go some way towards meeting the council’s climate change goals. In summary-
- The existing lavatory block is of a stainless steel box construction, clad in bricks, with a tiled roof. Its large footprint and situation restricts the necessary growth in car parking provision. This structure has not been adequately maintained and due to its construction is difficult to refurbish. It is proposed to demolish this.
- To replace with a smaller unit, that is of modular construction and available as two gender neutral and disability compliant toilets, with baby changing facilities in each. They will plug into the existing services that are waste, water and electricity and have photovoltaic panels to the roof with a battery pack. The PVs should be sufficient to service the needs of the two units and any excess being diverted to the National Grid. The outside of the new toilet box will be timber (or similar) clad and in a colour yet to be determined. The doors will be vandal proof steel with a timer clock lock. Cleaning will be carried out in the evening and then locked to be automatically opened the next morning. (NB. At this time this is based on current building standards for public lavatories. Following the Covid-19 emergency these standards may be addressed which could have a bearing on the design and operation of the toilets and potentially costs of provision and on-going maintenance.
- Likewise, all public conveniences may require measures aimed at future infection control measures.)
- The car park will be provided initially with two electric charging points, with the power supply future proofed for at least four further units as demand builds.
- Additional car parking spaces will be provided and based on the SCC standard with a further 10/12 cars accommodated. Motor-cycle and cycle places remain.
- The large chestnut tree will be respected. During the works phase by using light weight construction methods, hence the choice of a modular design. Other planting will be preserved and/or where possible transplanted. The light weight construction of the replacement toilet block will avoid any major footings and can be placed on a pad foundation.
- The existing green space will be preserved and enhanced by undertaking maintenance of existing trees. This will also provide scope for providing future amenities, such as pick-nick benches.
- The car park surface will be repaired and relayed as necessary.
- Planning permission is not needed as it falls under permitted development rights. Rose Walton was the officer advising, working with Steven Stroud.
- The freehold will remain with BDC and either a lease or a management licence granted to LPC.
- Operating costs should be at least 50 per cent cheaper than current costs - smaller, modern unit, only requiring one maintenance visit each day etc.
Funding for this should come from the Community Infrastructure Levy. A CIL bid is with Babergh DC, with the balance from the parish council CIL pot. It is hoped to get this work carried out in Autumn 2020.