PUBLIC toilets in Northwich have been branded the worst in the north west by residents.

Out of order cubicles, a lack of toilet paper, broken flushes and a disgusting smell are among the complaints about the market toilets, in Applemarket Street, which are the only public conveniences in Northwich town centre now Leicester Street loos have been demolished.

Valerie Jones, 60, from Winnington, said: "It's not fair that we have got the worst toilets in the north west.

"I've listened to other people moaning about the toilets as well and we all agree.

"Who would want to come to Northwich shopping when we've only got about three nasty toilets?

"It's disgusting."

Valerie said she had come from Moss Road to catch a bus to Leighton Hospital on a Sunday and found the toilets shut completely.

"If you got caught short with nowhere to go and peed in the street you would get done and it's not fair," she said.

Northwich's mayor Cllr Alison Gerrard has also heard a number of complaints at her hairdresser's salon Snipits, in Station Road.

"In the ladies there are seven cubicles and four taped up and it says on them that they're closed due to a blockage," she said.

"They've been like that a good month.

"We're not asking for state-of-the-art toilets, just something a bit more suitable for the people of town to use.

"At the moment it's not what you could call fit for purpose."

Cllr Gerrard surveyed 30 people at her salon about the toilets and found out that 56 per cent of people would only use the loos if they were desperate and 34 per cent would not use them at all.

She said 83 per cent of people would pay to use toilets as long as they were guaranteed to be clean, with 76 per cent of people saying they would pay up to 20p.

"It's not scientific but a quick straw poll," Cllr Gerrard said.

A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council, which looks after the toilets, said drainage work will be carried out today, Wednesday, to solve the blockage.

No public toilets are planned as part of the Barons Quay scheme.