Councillors have voted against placing toilets on a new allotment site, with one member calling for the facilities to be removed from all allotment sites.

Members of Andover Town Council’s Allotment Committee voted on Wednesday against putting a portaloo on the new Ox Drove allotment site, which is set to be handed over by developers of Picket Piece in the coming months.

Councillors raised concerns that doing so would be ‘a waste of money’ at present, as the toilets can not be used during Covid, amid wider concerns of “prohibitive” costs of putting the toilets on smaller sites.

The allotments committee discussed a number of new allotment sites from developments across Andover at the meeting on April 14. Firstly, Cllr Nick Matthews said that new allotments near Saxon Heights would be available for use earlier than expected, with an aim of September.

Discussion then turned to the site at Ox Drove, which council officers have been inspecting ahead of taking on the site from the developer.

Cllr Luigi Gregori, the chair of the committee, said: “The major issue is whether to have a toilet or not. This is something that councillors have discussed regularly on and off for a number of years.

“My personal view is the answer is probably no as there’s only 11 plots there and a £700 expenditure [for a toilet] is far too high, it’s over £65 per person in terms of subsidy. I think if we do this as a debate, my proposal is that there is no toilet provision on the Picket Piece/Ox Drove allotment site due to the expense.”

This was seconded by Cllr Barbara Long, who said: “Nationally, if you look at allotments not every allotment site has a toilet. At the moment, due to Covid, the National Allotment Association is suggesting that allotment toilets are not open as they cannot be cleaned twice a day like public toilets can, so at the moment we haven’t got our toilets open.

“I agree with Cllr Gregori that at this moment maybe we don’t put toilets on there as they can’t be used. Then we wait and see if the restrictions are lifted so the toilets can be used on the site so we can then make a better judgement on whether toilets are needed with only 11 tenants.

“It is going to work out very expensive having toilets with only 11 tenants and I’ve worked out the costs across all the sites is £9 per plot per month to have the toilets there, and that’s spreading the cost across all the sites, which works out quite expensive. If you ask each tenant, I think they would say no if asked.”

She added: “It is wasting our money to put a toilet there at this moment in time”.

Cllr David Coole said he would be in favour of taking the portaloos of all the council’s allotment sites.

He said: “I’ve been quite vocal on this all last year saying we should remove all portaloos because they’re not being used and we are simply wasting this money every year.

“I would agree to say we should not put them on the site at this stage and I would go further to say we should remove all others from sites and then conduct a survey to see whether we should put them back.”

Cllr Gregori then summed up his motion, saying: “If people in on site want them in huge numbers, then that’s ok, but the problem is they’re going to need to pay for that going forward. But at the smaller sites, there clearly is an issue because the cost is becoming quite prohibitive.”

Councillors then unanimously voted to not put a portaloo on the site for the time being.