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Toilets targeted in town clean up

PUBLISHED: 17:15 09 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

A BLOCK of Felixstowe seafront toilets branded "a disgrace to the town" and used for anti-social behaviour is to be completely refurbished as a top priority.

A BLOCK of Felixstowe seafront toilets branded "a disgrace to the town" and used for anti-social behaviour is to be completely refurbished as a top priority.

Tourism chiefs have decided to pull the chain on the loos at Bath Tap and hope work will be carried out before next year's summer season.

Councillors will be spending more than a penny on the Victorian loos, which have been labelled as "absolutely abominable" by town councillors and generate many complaints from visitors each year.

County councillor Don Smith is one of those pressing for renovation work to be done and says the toilets stink, the latrines and cisterns – all original parts of the century-old block – had 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.

Suffolk Coastal officers have now confirmed that Bath Tap and Brook Street, Woodbridge, will be top priority under a £500,000 five-year spending spree to bring more than half the public toilets in the area up to the highest standards.

They will bring their plans to members of the housing and environment committee on Thursday night.

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

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

Its proposals now are to bring them up to an agreed set of standards. This will include ensuring each has hot and cold running water, soap dispensers, baby changing facilities, and disabled access. Two new lavatory blocks may be built as part of the plan at the Felixstowe Port Viewing Area and Woodbridge Station.

A report to councillors says various methods have been used to measure usage of the loos to decide which should be tackled first, and a number of groups have been consulted over the proposals.

The council hopes to bring ten toilets up to the quality standard in the first two years at a cost of £220,000, and to have upgraded 22 by 2005.

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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