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‘It was really upsetting’: Elderly man wets himself after toilet block is shut to the public

PUBLISHED: 13:50 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:28 12 June 2018

The public toilets near Southwold pier, which a group of elderly tourists were left unable to access. Picture: Archant Library

The public toilets near Southwold pier, which a group of elderly tourists were left unable to access. Picture: Archant Library

A holidaymaker says a group of elderly tourists were left in a “state of distress” after being unable to access a seaside town’s public toilets.

Mr Tolworthy said the group of elderly tourists did not have a Mr Tolworthy said the group of elderly tourists did not have a "good start to their Southwold experience". Picture: Nick Butcher

Andrew Tolworthy was enjoying a walk on Southwold pier yesterday morning, June 11, when he came across five people standing outside the toilet block in the nearby car park.

The group had arrived on the Suffolk coast as part of a coach party and were in need of a toilet break, but discovered that the block was locked – with no viable alternative nearby.

According to Mr Tolworthy, there were no signs on display providing a valid reason for the closure and one of the group members was so desperate that he wet himself.

“I was walking from the pier towards the toilets and saw a group of five elderly people who looked like they had just arrived in Southwold,” said Mr Tolworthy.

“The toilet block was shut and there were no reasons given. This poor old guy was desperate – at that age you just can’t hold onto your bladder.

“I’m not sure exactly where the group had come from, but that was their greeting and it wasn’t a good start to their Southwold experience at all.”

Mr Tolworthy - who lives in Newmarket but visits Southwold on a regular basis - added that witnessing the situation was highly unpleasant and frustrating, especially given that no substitute facilities had been provided.

“To see these people in this state of distress was really upsetting,” he said. “I’m a holidaymaker myself, but if I was a local I’d have been completely embarrassed by the situation.

“I would say the toilets at the pubs are probably the next best alternative, but they’re about half a mile away and aren’t public toilets.

“If there was a good reason for the closure, there should have at least been a sign telling people why and portaloos should have been provided as an alternative.”

Waveney District Council, which oversees the running of the public toilet facilities in the town, said there was no valid reason for the toilets having been locked.

A spokesman said: “The toilets were cleaned first thing on Monday morning and left unlocked. At some point later on in the morning, it appears that the block has been inadvertently locked and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

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