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'Closed toilets are an inconvenience'

PUBLISHED: 09:20 14 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 July 2010

WAITING at the bar to be served the perfect pint of Adnams beer or queuing patiently for an ice cream are part of what makes a sunny afternoon in Southwold so special.

WAITING at the bar to be served the perfect pint of Adnams beer or queuing patiently for an ice cream are part of what makes a sunny afternoon in Southwold so special.

But as the summer holiday season approaches, locals are desperately searching for a way to get well-used seafront toilets back open before waiting in line to spend a penny becomes an unwanted part of the seaside experience.

Waveney District Council decided last summer that the toilets at Kilcock Cliff, in the middle of the promenade, would be closed at the end of the holiday season.

Although Southwold Town Council initially considered paying to take over the block itself, councillors decided that they could not commit to the toilets because they did not know how much they would cost to maintain.

Now after several sunny weekends with visitors asking directions to alternative toilets and queuing for the town's other facilities, the town council is hoping to find a way to get the toilets back up and running.

At a meeting of Southwold Town Council on Monday night, Teresa Baggott said that she had seen people waiting in line to use the alternative toilets at Church Green.

She said: “On Sunday afternoon, there was a queue of people doubled back from the toilets. We've done everything we can possibly do for the moment.

“We haven't got the answers we want about how much the toilets cost to run so that we could perhaps move forward towards taking them over for ourselves.”

Michael Ladd said: “We did previously have the opportunity to take the toilets back and now I think we ought to grasp that. We should look again at these to see whether we can do it ourselves.”

Jack Storer, 91, who has a beach hut on the seafront, said: “A lot of the beach hut owners use those toilets because they're bang in the centre of the promenade.

“They are of particular value to families with babies. One of my granddaughters was here some time ago with her 15-month-old toddler, who quite naturally wanted to go to the toilet. She took her there and found it closed and had to go to the pier, which was certainly not amusing.

“People have taken to urinating behind - the beach huts - it's an utter disgrace.”

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: “Following a service review, the toilets at Kilcock Cliff were closed at the end of the summer season last year as the site was not viable for refurbishment. As well as Southwold Pier, there is provision in town at Church Green, Ferry Road (Gun Hill) and Southwold Harbour.”

She said that signs informing members of the public of the closure of the toilets were originally put up on the promenade railings with maps showing the location of alternative toilets, but that an unknown person has since removed them.

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