New loos could stop unsavoury use
WE will drive out the perverts!That was the tough message from councillors today as they revealed that seafront toilets used for gay sex could be demolished and replaced with a £100,000 loo block designed specifically to prevent indecent activities.
WE will drive out the perverts!
That was the tough message from councillors today as they revealed that seafront toilets used for gay sex could be demolished and replaced with a £100,000 loo block designed specifically to prevent indecent activities.
Designs were unveiled for either a new block at Bath Tap in Felixstowe – or for a total upgrade of the current lavatories.
Architects have taken into account the sordid goings-on at the block next to the prom on the East Beach and both schemes will stop the problems.
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CCTV at the block has also not been ruled out, although there are no immediate plans for cameras inside or outside the toilets.
The action comes as The Evening Star has joined forces with worried parents to clear out the perverts from the toilets, which are next to one of the resort's most popular family beaches and where many children play.
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But as parents today greeted the council's action as "excellent news and a big step forward", mums and dads still want action now to stop the unsavoury incidents which have left them fearing for the safety of their youngsters.
One mum, from Stowmarket, told the Star: "We have used the beach next to Undercliff Road East for several years and never realised there was a problem with those toilets until recently.
"My lad who is 12 went to the loo and a man near us on the beach said, 'I wouldn't let my lads go in there' and then told me why. I was horrified.
"I certainly won't let my son go in there again. It is awful to think that sort of thing is happening in the middle of all these families sunbathing, swimming and playing on a beach at a seaside. It makes your flesh creep.
"I am glad to hear the council is thinking of demolishing those toilets – but other action is needed now."
Councillors will be asked on Monday whether they would like to see the block at the bottom of Bath Hill renovated for £95,000 or demolished and rebuilt for £109,000. Work would be done between November and March.
The design for both projects would remove the traditional toilet block where people walk inside to use urinals and cubicles and create a block of cubicles accessed by doors around the outside of the building.
One idea being examined is to create a uni-sex loo, but the current designs mean that if two men were seen going through the same door, the police could be called immediately.
Seafront councillor Andy Smith said he "sympathised 100 per cent" with the families using the area and knew well the reputation of the toilets.
He said the council had taken that reputation into account when designing the new toilets to try to stop the problems.
Alan Dunn, assistant director of environmental services at Suffolk Coastal, said the toilets were usually closed at twilight. There was no set time, and while some families had called for earlier closing, a balance had to be struck between providing a facility for genuine users and preventing offensive behaviour.
CCTV "could not be ruled out" but cameras had not yet been considered or budgeted for, and this would be a matter for the crime and disorder group.
Felixstowe police said officers were aware of the toilets but there had been no complaints or reports received about the activities inside recently. The force would act if people reported their concerns.
If people see or suspect criminal activity, they should call 999 immediately.
n What do you think should be done? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street. Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or sign the petition form on this page, or call our Felixstowe reporting team on 01394 284109. Or have your say on the Evening Star web site www.eveningstar.co.uk