Lack of toilet provision is disgraceful

Former Royal Albert Drive cafe and toilet block have now been demolished.
Former Royal Albert Drive cafe and toilet block have now been demolished.

As we are all aware, Scarborough Borough Council has to make many stringent, annual budget cost savings.

I recently attended a meeting of the Castle residents and tenants association where the topic of toilet provision was on the agenda. One committee member highlighted her concerns with the newly built toilet structure near Luna Park. She mentioned parents standing in long queues with young children desperately waiting and giving up, allowing them to urinate behind the wooden booking office kiosks and against bins. She also commented how dirty nappies were thrown at her husband and staff and at other kiosk owners to dispose of.

There are only six mixed-sex facilities for the public to use and adjoining facilities with showers locked for private use, by yacht owners.

I recently personally witnessed long queues on Armed Forces Day for them. Several social media contributors have mentioned their worries about how the town will cope for National Armed Forces Day to be held here in 2020.

I question why this dreadful situation has arisen and congratulate the media for highlighting the problems experienced by Barrowcliff primary school on problems experienced in North Bay which possibly would have cost them £17.60 for 44 children to use at an increased cost of 40p, increased from ten pence last month. The teachers and supervisors might also have added to this potential profit for the council, by also paying themselves. I understand that the same problem was experienced by Lindhead School.

Scarborough should pride itself on many accolades over the years but basic facilities such as toilets are letting its residents and visitors down.

We all appreciate there is a cost factor to providing a service and I believe the town once had more public toilets than any other seaside resort,
but stop and think how many have closed and been demolished or converted in the last twenty or so years near your own home. I can think of at least five toilets knocked down ten minutes walk from my own home including the Royal Albert drive cafe block!

It is very sad that staff have been made redundant from the “attended toilets” in South Bay, formally known as “Superloos”. Vandalism has already taken place at the new East Pier block and sadly I believe West Pier which has flap barriers newly fitted, replacing the two staff will suffer a similar fate. People will purposefully leave the facilities dirty, taps running, paper on the floor and wet sand to slip on the tiled floors.

When I was a councillor, I questioned the “all day pass” as it was open to abuse by people passing it on to more than the designated number of users. It was obviously a good idea for North Bay chalet users present most of the day but not very practical for South Bay.

No free toilet provision is available now for businesses who rent property from the council on West Pier such as the crab stalls, cafe and sweet units.

The situation now, is that we have three toilet buildings available in South Bay, two with flap barriers where you pay, with no staff to give correct change and St Nicholas Gardens toilets, with its new roof, next to the Olympia amusements which is now free but with no disabled toilet as it’s out of order along with several cubicles.

The owner of the Beachcomber cafe near Spa Bridge often has to explain where the toilets are to potential customers confused as they come off the park and ride buses, day trip coaches and out of the underground car park. The toilets near her cafe closed over a decade ago and the subways and car park often smell of urine and are dirty. I did note how the area was recently tidied up with new wood panels and painted in the circular centre. The cafe owner rightfully has raised her view that her profits have dropped since the adjoining toilet facilities were closed.

I welcome Councillor Andrew Jenkinson’s promise of a thorough review.

This matter needs urgent attention as the summer school holidays will soon be upon us.

Charging school groups is a very bad move. It should be noted that the public are expected to pay the new cost of 40p when it has only been 10p for children and 40p for adults. School groups might vote with their feet and visit other seaside resorts which will be detrimental as they are our future customers.

Guy Smith
Peasholm Drive,
Scarborough