BEHIND-CLOSED-DOOR talks were held over plans to provide a public toilet in Walton after town councillors barred the press and public from the debate.

Frinton and Walton Town Council had been due to discuss a report detailing issues around taking over the former post office building in Walton High Street.

The council hopes to transform it into a new toilet block after the closure of the town’s facility in Mill Lane.

But the report, which laid out the cost of a potential renovation project, highlighted issues with the building’s owners.

Walton Information Centre - formerly Walton Forum - is in talks with the council over a possible lease agreement, but is holding off on sealing the deal.

The council had been expected to discuss the unknown issue at a public meeting last Thursday.

But the delay in the plans remains a mystery after town mayor Iris Johnson announced the public and press would be excluded from the debate.

She cited “sensitive issues” as the reason behind the decision.

Delyth Miles, Walton ward councillor, reacted with dismay at the move.

She asked: “Why is it going into exclusion?

“I’ve made this point before - we’ve got far too much going into exclusion. It’s not commercial in confidence - this is our residents’ money we are spending here.

“I have been inundated with people wanting to know, because it was on the front page of the Gazette.

“I think it is important the public are allowed to stay.”

A spokesman for Walton Information Centre previously refused to be drawn on the nature of the issue holding up the plans.

A report to the council revealed three quotes had been received detailing the cost of renovating the former post office building, should the plan proceed.

The quotes ranged from £106,221 to £123,801.