Northumberland County Council draws up plans for £1million revamp of public toilets
Public toilets in Northumberland are set to benefit from a £1million revamp.
The capital investment over the next two years was given the green light at Northumberland County Council’s budget meeting last week.
Speaking at a recent coastal summit, Paul Jones, director of local services, said: “That will address backlog maintenance issues as well as redevelopment and improvement for priority sites.
"We will try to get some of that work done in advance of this summer but the £1million investment will be a longer term programme of activity."
Alnmouth Parish Council chairman Shaun Whyte called for the facilities on Marine Road to be included.
He said: "The public toilets are extremely shabby with crumbling walls and crumbling plasterwork so I would plead that Alnmouth goes on the list.”
Mr Jones responded: “We recognise the facility at Alnmouth is a bit tired and in need of some tlc.
"We have already had surveys done of all of the toilets just to understand what the maintenance requirements are in terms of the fabric of the building, the decor and any damage to appliances.
"That programme alone starts racking up quite a cost so what we are looking to do is prioritise where we start that repair and maintenance activity.
"What we don’t want to do is undertake that activity if there is going to be a plan for a full refurbishment and enhancement or enlargement of the facility so we’re going through that process at the moment.”
There have previously been calls from Alnwick Town Council and Wooler Parish Council for improved facilities.
The county council is already progressing a £315,000 refurbishment of the conveniences in Seahouses and on Holy Island.
A £131,000 refurbishment of the public toilets in Seahouses is nearing completion, with a £184,000 for a revamp of public toilets on Holy Island in progress.
"The works we commissioned there are on-going,” said Mr Jones. “It’s a significant investment in two of our key tourism destinations.
"We expect the Seahouses facilities to be available in early April and then Holy Island by May so ahead of the key summer season.”
The project incorporates a ‘Changing Places’ facility at each location along with new vanity units and laminated cubicles, hand sanitisers, automatic lighting, taps, sanitary bins, hand dryers, soap dispensers and toilet flushes.
Work is also in progress to resolve drainage issues at the public toilets in Craster.
The cleanliness of the public toilets during the Covid-19 pandemic has been praised by local councillors.
Enhanced cleansing arrangements and ‘one in, one out’ rules have been in place to keep people safe.
Cllr Jeff Watson, county councillor for Amble West with Warkworth, said: “The difference in the cleanliness of the toilets has been phenomenal.”
Cllr John Roper, chairman of Newton by the Sea Parish Council, added: “Our toilets at Low Newton are in very good order given the number of people with muddy and sandy feet who traipse in and out.”
Mr Jones said: “The enhanced cleansing has been really well received in terms of the comments we’ve had back and that’s something we certainly want to take forward post-pandemic.”