Fears Clevedon beach could become a 'toilet'
By Prue_Reid | Sunday, March 03, 2013, 15:27
Clevedon beach could become a toilet, say residents, if plans to close public loos go ahead
FEARS have been raised that Clevedon's beach could be turned into a toilet if plans to close the public loos get the go ahead.
Swimmers from the Middle Yeo Surf Lifesaving Club, who swim from the beach of Clevedon each day during the summer, say the sands and pebbles could be left in a stinking state if the nearby toilets at Pier Copse close.
North Somerset Council is withdrawing the £400,000 it spends on running the 29 public toilets across the district from April 1.
The authority asked town and parish councils to take over responsibility for running the loos or they would close.
Clevedon Town Council has agreed to take over the running of The Chalet loos on the seafront by the amusement arcade and the loos at Station Road in the town centre.
The council will be applying for a grant from North Somerset to bring the conveniences up to a good standard before contracting them out to be run by a concessionaire who will charge people to use them.
But the council has said it will not be taking over the loos at Copse Road and Alexandra Road as both need around £100,000 spent on them to bring them up to a reasonable standard.
The toilets at the bus terminal at Six Ways, which are leased by North Somerset Council, will also close after bus operators said they would not take them over.
This will mean that people using the beach will have to walk half a mile up the prom to The Chalet public conveniences to answer the call of nature or ask at one of the nearby pubs and cafes.
Members of the Middle Yeo Surf Lifesaving Club are now planning to lobby the town council in a bid to get it to change its mind.
Middle Yeo Surf Lifesaving Club member, Rose Hurley, said: "The beach is used by thousands and thousands of residents and tourists each year.
"These people need public conveniences nearby, especially families or the elderly.
"There is a very real risk that without public loos, people may just relieve themselves on the beach, making an unpleasant and unhygienic place for everyone.
"It is irresponsible of the council to shut these toilets and we are planning to lobby councillors to change their mind."
Clevedon Town Council clerk, Paula Heath, said the council simply didn't have the funds to bring the loos at Pier Copse and Alexandra Road into a condition where they could be leased to a concessionaire.
Mrs Heath said: "We do not have the resources to keep them open and neither does North Somerset.
"The toilets at Station Road and The Chalet will be run by a concessionaire on a cost neutral basis to the council.
"A lot of seaside resorts already charge to use public conveniences.
"The pier visitor centre which is opening soon will have toilets and there are pubs and restaurants in the area which have facilities ."
North Somerset Council says it cleans the beach on a regular basis.