'Unique opportunity' to lease one of Exmouth's toilet blocks

The public loos at Orcombe Point

The public loos at Orcombe Point - a potential venue for a cafe or community hub? - Credit: Google Maps

Four public toilet blocks in Exmouth are being marketed for ‘creative repurposing’. 

East Devon District Council is offering long-term leases on the buildings at the Imperial Recreation Ground, Orcombe Point, the Maer and Jarvis Close at Littleham Cross. 

The chance to take over a former public loo is being described as ‘a unique opportunity’ for community groups or local businesses.  

The council suggests that the buildings could be turned into cafes, takeaways, bike hire businesses or community hubs. 

Preference will be given to tenants who will still provide a public loo alongside whatever other facilities they introduce.  

Last year the district council announced that it could no longer afford to run all its public toilets. It said it will be prioritising those that are most needed and refurbishing them to a high standard, with a view to charging 40p for use. 

In Exmouth, these are the toilets at Foxholes car park, the Magnolia Centre, Manor Gardens, Queen’s Drive and Phear Park. 

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The council also identified several toilet blocks with the potential for being used for something else; these were the Imperial Recreation Ground loos and those at Orcombe Point and the Maer. The Jarvis Close loos were originally among those that would be offered to their town or parish council or closed down, but are now being marketed with the other three. 

Three toilet blocks in Seaton are also being offered for leasing. 

A spokesperson for East Devon District Council said: “Listening to feedback from the community through our consultation which ran earlier in 2021, it was clear that people wanted to retain access to public toilets, so the council is marketing the blocks it can no longer afford to provide itself; inviting bids for the unique opportunity for community groups and local businesses to creatively repurpose public toilet premises.  

“Evaluation of any offer will focus on the proposed use of the building, with significant weight being given to the prioritisation of community uses which have a positive impact on community relations, such as community hubs or a café where people can come together and where the public can still access a public toilet.” 

Since marketing began at the end of April the council has had around 25 enquiries. The first viewings were carried out on Thursday, May 5, with more booked up until the end of the month. 

The sites will continue to be marketed for the next three months and anyone wanting further information can email property@eastdevon.gov.uk or view details on the council’s website