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Old public loos in Stamford Hill left looking like a ‘swamp’ amid bizarre row over who owns them

PUBLISHED: 17:03 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:35 29 August 2017

The water is as almost as high as the door to the toilets. Picture: Sam Gelder

The water is as almost as high as the door to the toilets. Picture: Sam Gelder

Archant

A bizarre row has erupted over whose job it is to clean the filthy old public toilets outside Sainsbury’s in Stamford Hill.

The old public toilet in Stamford Hill has become a swamp. Picture: Sam GelderThe old public toilet in Stamford Hill has become a swamp. Picture: Sam Gelder

Rainwater has completely flooded the stairs and turned the area into a swamp, with trees growing out of the ladies’ and the steps to the gents’ thick with duckweed.

But Hackney Council and the unnamed owner of the loos are both refusing to carry the can and have washed their hands of the problem – because no one can decide who owns the stairs. The Gazette understands the owner is saying the steps down to the facilities weren’t included in the land registry title. But the council believes both the toilets and stairs were always meant to be publicly owned and were only sold to the landowner in error.

The bickering means the serious questions over health and safety surrounding the site are going unanswered and regular passer-by Michelle Blue is furious nothing is being done.

She told the Gazette: “A few years ago I noticed there was lots of water in there. I looked again earlier this year and there were trees growing out of it. There’s about 10 feet of stagnated water – it’s a swamp.”

The water is as almost as high as the door to the toilets. Picture: Sam GelderThe water is as almost as high as the door to the toilets. Picture: Sam Gelder

Michelle contacted environmental health but got nowhere, so she emailed mayor Phil Glanville. In his response, seen by the Gazette, he revealed the details of the unusual dispute.

He said: “I can confirm that ownership of these toilets is held by the adjoining landowner and is presently included within the title which also incorporates the Sainsbury’s store.

“Unfortunately, however, I am advised the registered owner does not have access to the toilets as the steps down to them are not included within their ownership; the owner has therefore argued they are unable to maintain them.”

The mayor said discussions were taking place with the land registry to decide who actually owns the toilets (and stairs).

Potty mouth: Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville lifted the lid on the peculiar stalemate over the toilet. Picture: Gary Manhine/Hackney CouncilPotty mouth: Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville lifted the lid on the peculiar stalemate over the toilet. Picture: Gary Manhine/Hackney Council

Bosses at the town hall believe ownership should be given to the council, and if that happens the toilets will be cleaned and let out.

A council spokeswoman told the Gazette: “The disused public toilet on Stamford Hill is not owned by the council. The council is currently in contact with the owner to discuss options for the future use of the property.”

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