Clean-up loos campaign - success
INDECENT sex acts in public loos on part of Felixstowe seafront should become a thing of the past this year with a project to end the problems.Following a campaign by families and the Evening Star, the resort's Bath Tap toilets are to get a new image which should remove the reputation the seedy block has had for the best part of a century.
By Richard Cornwell
INDECENT sex acts in public loos on part of Felixstowe seafront should become a thing of the past this year with a project to end the problems.
Following a campaign by families and the Evening Star, the resort's Bath Tap toilets are to get a new image which should remove the reputation the seedy block has had for the best part of a century.
Last summer was a nightmare for families using the East Beach and their huts in Undercliff Road East with constant worries over their children because of men seen hanging around the area.
Indulging in lewd behaviour will be a lot more difficult once the £90,000 refurbishment project is complete, though some community leaders have warned that it will only push the problems elsewhere in the town.
The lavatories are one of three blocks in Suffolk Coastal set for major improvements early in the New Year, with schemes also drawn up for the Meare at Thorpeness, and Woodbridge's Brook Street facilities.
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Work is set to start at Bath Tap on January 13 and the toilets will be out of action for three months while it takes place.
Drake and Plant Ltd won the £90,934 contract for the work, the lowest tender submitted. The aim is to have the refit complete by mid-April – ready for the new season.
"This is the latest stage of the major improvement programme being carried out by Suffolk Coastal of public toilets across the district. In recent months we have completed the refitting of toilet blocks at Dunwich Beach, Saxstead Green, and Golf Road, Felixstowe, However the latest three projects will be larger and more significant," said Patricia O'Brien, cabinet member for health and safety.
"I am sure people will appreciate that closure is inevitable while an upgrade of facilities is being undertaken."
Councillors decided not to demolish and rebuild the Victorian loos, but to remodel them so every toilet door will be on the outside, instead of users going into the block in the traditional way to use cubicles and latrines.
It means that in future, if two men go into one cubicle the police can be informed immediately.
The design was chosen specifically to prevent indecent activities, a problem councillors have been aware of for more than 20 years and some people have claimed have been present for much longer.
FASTFACTS: The Bath Tap campaign
n The Evening Star joined forces with families to campaign for action after growing concerns over the Bath Tap loos being used for gay sex.
n Parents using the beach at the bottom of Bath Hill told how children had seen lewd behaviour.
n Web sites were discovered to be "advertising" the toilets as a meeting place and men were travelling from far and wide to use them.
n Families identified a "triangle of evil" of look out posts where men would watch for prospective customers and keep an eye out for police approaching.
n Toilet locks were mysteriously glued so the block could not be locked.
n Residents called for CCTV and for earlier closing times to stop the nuisance.