Scarborough Council is to provide temporary toilets on its seafront following complaints from the public.
The council’s cabinet today approved the spending of £51,000 to place the toilets in Royal Albert Drive, where a previous toilet block was demolished in 2017, and to reinstate the conveniences at the Holbeck Clock Tower on the South Cliff which closed the same year.
Reversing toilet closures was one of the promises made by the new leader of the council, Cllr Steve Siddons, when the Labour councillor took charge of the authority following May’s local elections.
At today’s cabinet meeting cabinet member Cllr Janet Jefferson (Ind) said the cost was one worth paying.
She said: “All of us here will have had our ears bent by the public over the loss of toilets on Royal Albert Drive.
“It is not acceptable that people have been having to go in bushes as they walk around the seafront.”
The council’s Director of Finance, Nick Edwards, said the portable toilets would be “screened” and connected to local utilities.
He said it had hoped that replacement toilets as part of a redevelopment scheme would have come forward before now but that the council could not wait any longer to provide toilets.
“When you have to go, you have to go,” he added.
Mr Edwards said he was ahead of his planned budget savings for the year and that would meet part of the associated cost.
The committee was warned that by choosing to provide toilets in Scarborough it could upset other towns and rural areas.
Cllr Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff (Ind) told the cabinet: “I think you have to be aware of how it will look in Filey, Hunmanby and Whitby.”
Cllr Guy Coulson (Con) queried why two “high profile” toilets were being saved when some rural communities had no toilets at all.
He was told by Cllr Siddons that the toilets to be provided were “high usage” rather than high profile. In a statement, Cllr Siddons said savings would be sought from other areas.
He said: “The old cabinet consulted on these toilet closures in 2017. The public response was that the council should provide essential toilets where no one else can, that didn’t happen in these two locations.
“It was wrong to leave key tourist areas with inadequate toilet provision and I am pleased we are correcting that.
“This reversal does, of course, need funding and we now need to review other less essential non-statutory projects.”