Foxholes car park in Exmouth is getting new loos – and this time, it’s going to cost a pretty penny.

The existing free lavatories will be demolished now that planning permission has been granted for six unisex and two accessible lavatories and a changing space. 

The block will have timber-look cladding, metal doors in “beach hut” colours, and solar panels on a flat roof. External showers, a bike rack and seating will be installed nearby. 

The toilet doors will open directly onto the pavement, in contrast to the current male and female areas. 

Users will have to pay 40p to spend a penny, using a contactless payment card or phone. 

That’s going to make it harder for young children, or people who still prefer to use cash. And it could make it costly to spend a day with a family at Exmouth beach.

At an East Devon District Council (EDDC) meeting this week, Cllr Brian Bailey (Conservative, Exmouth Littleham) questioned the need to demolish the current building.

He said: “I can absolutely see the need for these toilets to be refurbished.

Exmouth Journal: One councillor “cannot see the need at all for demolition”.One councillor “cannot see the need at all for demolition”. (Image: Google Street View)  

“I cannot see the need at all for demolition. The building is sound. What is the point of knocking it down, plus the carbon release, the dust, the mess and the expense?  

“This proposed thing looks like a poor excuse for an ice cream parlour. I believe Exmouth deserves a better design than this horrible building.” 

But Cllr Nick Hookway (Lib Dem, Exmouth Littleham) said the present toilets, built in the 1980s, were “completely worn out”. 

He said: “This is a very popular tourist location and the demand for clean sanitary toilets is significant.  

“The proposed design in my view is fresh and modern and will be a refreshing change.  

“It does include a ‘Changing Places’ facility which will be much appreciated by those who have been calling for it for some time.”

‘Changing Places’ are usually centrally placed loos accessible for wheelchair user, with wall-mounted vertical grab rails and drop-down support rails.

Cllr Nick Hookway continued: “The bike rack and the showers are also popular additions and have been requested by residents on a regular basis.” 

Cllr Anne Hall (Lib Dem, Exmouth Littleham) added: “We desperately need these facilities to be upgraded one way or another and to me it is something which looks in keeping with the beach huts. I think it actually works for the area.” 

A majority of councillors voted in favour of the plans. 

The new Foxholes toilet block proposals are part of wider plans by the district council to refurbish or rebuild 15 ‘category A’ public conveniences at an estimated cost of £5 million. 

Another 12 category B and C loos EDDC cannot afford to run have been offered for commercial operators to repurpose them into cafes, takeaways or community hubs – although the public must still be able to go to the loo there – and also to town and parish councils to run in place of EDDC. 

East Devon’s public toilets are ranked as follows:

Category A    

  • West Street car park, Axminster    
  • Cliff Path (West End/Steamer), Budleigh Salterton    
  • East End (Lime Kiln), Budleigh Salterton    
  • Jubilee Gardens, Beer    
  • Foxholes car park, Exmouth    
  • Magnolia Centre (London Inn), Exmouth     
  • Manor Gardens, Exmouth    
  • Phear Park, Exmouth    
  • Queens Drive, Exmouth    
  • Lace Walk, Honiton    
  • West Walk, Seaton    
  • Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth    
  • Triangle, Sidmouth    
  • Market Place, Sidmouth    
  • Ham car park (new site), Sidmouth

Categories B and C

  • Orcombe Point, Exmouth    
  • The Maer, Exmouth    
  • Imperial Road, Exmouth    
  • Jarvis Close, Exmouth    
  • Seaton Hole, Seaton    
  • Harbour Road, Seaton    
  • Marsh Road, Seaton    
  • Brook Road, Budleigh Salterton    
  • Station Road, Budleigh Salterton    
  • Dolphin Street, Colyton    
  • King Street, Honiton    
  • Port Royal, Sidmouth