Fire attack shut only toilets in New Milton town centre

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Firefighters tackle the small blaze at the public toilet block on Old Milton Road in New Milton

A SUSPECTED arson attack on New Milton town centre’s only public toilet block resulted in it being kept closed during the busy market day.

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Firefighters responded to reports of a small blaze at the New Forest District Council-owned facility, which had been completely rebuilt in 2017 at a budget-busting cost of around £314,000, on the recreation ground off Old Milton Road.

The alarm had been raised shortly after 11am on Tuesday, and the local crews contained the emergency within 15 minutes. It is understood a quantity of toilet paper had been set alight.

Shoppers were left unable to spend a penny while perusing the stalls at the town council market on Station Road the following day due to the nearby block’s closure.

They were open again yesterday (Thursday).

Town clerk Graham Flexman said on Tuesday: “I think it was just smoke damage rather than anything serious, but I think they just wanted to give them a deep clean and ensure that they are fit for purpose.

“It’s just unfortunate they are closed today because it is market day and the traders rely on being able to use them.”

Responding to concerns raised about the block attracting anti-social behaviour, Mr Flexman said police were “well aware” and it was being monitored by CCTV.

“Invariably, anti-social behaviour on the recreation ground and elsewhere is mentioned at the town council’s police liaison meetings which we hold on a regular basis,” he continued.

“This matter will be brought up at the next one in May, although we will be informing the police on email before then.”

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