Loo fury as Exmouth visitors are cauught out

PUBLISHED: 11:21 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:55 10 June 2010

CIVIC leaders have blasted the district council's cost-cutting policy of closing some public toilets in September, after tourists were forced to urinate outside a toilet block. Town councillor Ken Harper told colleagues he saw beach visitors relieving the

CIVIC leaders have blasted the district council's cost-cutting policy of closing some public toilets in September, after tourists were forced to urinate outside a toilet block.Town councillor Ken Harper told colleagues he saw beach visitors relieving themselves outside the closed Orcombe Point toilets.He said: "It was a warm October day and people were enjoying the beach, but were urinating outside because the toilet was closed."Visitors were down for the day and had no hotel to go back to leaving them very frustrated and to make matters worse there was no sign to tell them where the nearest open toilet was."He said that East Devon District Council closed some beachfront toilets between September and April - but that over the past couple of years the good weather had lasted into October, effectively extending the holiday season: "You can't offer a facility then close it in their faces - and there were two others closed. And the ones that were open were dirty and in poor condition. If you are closing toilets in a holiday resort what chance do we have? "It is really important part of the town. Easter next year is in March and people will come here and find the toilets closed."We need the season extended from March to October."Chairman of the General Purposes Committee Pauline Stott said to keep the toilets open for six months cost £4,000 - because they were subject to business rates.Mike Bone chairman of the British Toilet Association backed Cllr Harper's concerns and said: "Local authorities should no longer carry on at their own convenience when it comes to the provision of public toilets."He pointed to a recent Government report by the Local Government Select Committee that criticised local authorities for closing 40 per cent of public toilets since 2000.Chair of the select committee Dr Phyllis Starkey MP said that councils should: "...develop a public toilet strategy, which should involve consultation with the local community. "This will go a long way towards achieving the right of people who live in and visit this country to have accessible and clean public toilets, wherever they live, work or visit."A spokesman for the district council said: "Some seasonal toilets on the seafront are routinely closed from October 1 every year, following a winter-closure decision taken some years ago to reduce running costs and minimise vandalism. "Unfortunately, it is not possible to open and close these toilets at will, whenever there is a spell of unseasonably warm weather.

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