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Delay for loos' upgrade

PUBLISHED: 12:06 03 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 March 2010

WORK to refurbish a block of Felixstowe seafront toilets branded "a disgrace to the town" and used for anti-social behaviour has been delayed.

Tourism chiefs have decided to pull the chain on the loos at Bath Tap and spend more than a penny on bringing them up to standards expected by visitors.

WORK to refurbish a block of Felixstowe seafront toilets branded "a disgrace to the town" and used for anti-social behaviour has been delayed.

Tourism chiefs have decided to pull the chain on the loos at Bath Tap and spend more than a penny on bringing them up to standards expected by visitors.

The scheme was made top priority and it was hoped it would be done before the summer season.

But Suffolk Coastal officers now say that because such extensive work is needed it will sadly not be possible to start on site until September.

Instead, three other blocks – Sea Road at the top of Beach Station Road, The Dip and Spa Pavilion – will be done in the next month.

Director of environmental services Deborah Robinson said: "Other options have been explored for Bath Tap, such as demolition and replacement with a prefabricated unit but this would be substantially more expensive and is still unlikely to be completed in the time-scales needed."

Building new loos will also need planning permission, and negotiations were also taking place with Anglian Water as the company has equipment operating part of the town's sewerage system in part of the lavatory block.

Bath Tap loos have been unchanged since Victorian times and have been labelled as "absolutely abominable" by town councillors and generate many complaints from visitors each year.

They say the toilets stink, the latrines and cisterns – all original parts of the century-old block – have parts missing or broken, and are totally unhygienic.

For the past 20 years, the facilities – which stand alongside the prom in Undercliff Road East next to beach huts on the East beach – have had a reputation for "unsavoury incidents".

Parents of children playing on the beach and in the huts and chalets have been greatly concerned by men hanging around the lavatories, and last year put up home-made posters urging mums and dads to be on their guard.

The council is spending £500,000 in the next five years to bring more than half the public toilets in the district area up to the highest standards.

Suffolk Coastal has 38 public toilets, which puts it in the top five per cent of councils in England for the amount of conveniences provided.

It listened to residents' views over the lavs and reversed its initial plans to close and demolish many of them, including half those in Felixstowe.

Now work will be done to provide soap dispensers, hot and cold running water, baby changing facilities, improve lighting, provide maximum practical levels of access for people with disabilities, and improve signs for foot and car users.

Work will also be done at Golf Road, Felixstowe, by April next year, the Triangle the year after, and with improvements to Manor Road, and new blocks at the south seafront and Landguard Fort by 2006.

SPENDING A PENNY

n Suffolk Coastal is in the top five per cent of English districts for its number of public toilets

n Council spends £3.50 per head of population on its loos each year

n Twenty per cent of residents use the public toilets

n Usage of the district's loos is highest in Felixstowe

n People aged 25 to 34 are most likely to use a public loo

n Around 100 people an hour use them at peak times

n It costs £3,759 on average to keep a toilet block clean each year

n Thirty two per cent of people think cleanliness of the toilets is very or fairly poor

n Sixty six per cent of people think loos should be free but those who say we should pay for spending a penny favour a 10p charge


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