Loos looking for refurbishment
CAMPAIGNERS' hopes of stopping a block of seafront toilets being used for unsavoury sex acts should take a big step forward this week.Councillors will be asked on Thursday to approve plans for a near-£100,000 refurbishment of the Felixstowe loos, which will prevent them in future from being used for sordid goings-on.
By Richard Cornwell
CAMPAIGNERS' hopes of stopping a block of seafront toilets being used for unsavoury sex acts should take a big step forward this week.
Councillors will be asked on Thursday to approve plans for a near-£100,000 refurbishment of the Felixstowe loos, which will prevent them in future from being used for sordid goings-on.
The scheme – which will be put out to tender and a contract agree soon, ready for work to start this autumn – will be examined by Suffolk Coastal's development control sub committee.
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They are being recommended by planning officers to give the go-ahead to the alterations to the Bath Tap lavatories in Undercliff Road East.
The changes will close off the inside of the block to the public and create cubicles with all the doors on the outside of the building.
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The design has been specified so that people in the area will be able to see who goes into each of the toilets – so that the alert can be raised if more than one person is seen going into a single cubicle.
Town councillors have welcomed the renovation but have expressed concern over doors opening onto the street and danger from cars, but the planners say there is a footpath and there should be enough room for users to go in and out.
The scheme will cost £95,000 and work should be done by March, ready for the new tourist season.
The scheme follows strong public concern this summer over the activities of men inside the toilets, which are next to the promenade on the busy East Beach, a popular stretch of shore for families with young children.
Beach users claimed there was a "triangle of evil" in which men sat on a low wall at the bottom of Bath Hill to keep a look out for police, keeping eye contact with men near the information board on the prom, who kept watch on the toilets for prospective partners.
It was also discovered that the toilets were advertised as a meeting place on web sites and were probably attracting people from outside the resort.
Police stepped up patrols in the area and asked for people witnessing any incidents inside the block to contact them, but there were no arrests.
Some people believe that refurbishment of the loos will only move the problem to other lavatories elsewhere in the resort.