Plea to reopen Minnis Bay toilets after beach visitors leave behind “piles of human waste” and urine

Minnis Bay Photo David Larkins

A Birchington Parish Councillor says the toilets at Minnis Bay should be among those being reopened tomorrow (May 23) following reports of visitors “defecating and urinating in public areas” during hot weather this week.

Minnis Bay was among the beaches to attract large crowds during the hot weather on Wednesday but there are no facilities open which led to reports of people using the space behind the stored beach huts at the car park as a toilet. Volunteer litter pickers say they  had to remove  used toilet paper from behind the huts on the Prom and one resident expressed dismay at “piles of human waste behind the stored beach huts and the entrances to the toilets swimming with urine.”

Public toilets across the isle were closed on March 25 under government guidelines due to the Covid pandemic. Tomorrow four toilet blocks will be reopened in Margate, Ramsgate, Viking Bay and Joss Bay in time for the bank holiday.

But facilities at Westgate and Birchington will remain closed – despite both areas attracting visitors to beaches following the relaxation of ‘lockdown’ restrictions earlier this month.

Parish and district councillor Phil Fellows says the toilet closure creates another public health hazard.

He said: “I’m disappointed that our facilities in Minnis Bay are not open this bank holiday weekend. I was against the toilets opening initially but the sheer escalation in numbers heading for our beaches made it obvious that we need them open.

“Reports of defecating and urinating in public areas is alarming and a health hazard. Birchington Parish Council looked to pay for portaloos at Minnis Bay but there were too many health and safety issues for us to deal with at short notice.

“Lack of information and mixed messages have caused this situation. Clear messages need to be given out by Thanet council stating that facilities remain closed and to discourage people from travelling to our coastal areas.”

Thanet council is not asking visitors to stay away but is asking people to act responsibly.

Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services, said: “Following the shift in the Government’s lockdown restrictions to allow people to spend more time outside, we have been working to find a safe solution for the reopening of some of our public toilets.

“We recognise that people are choosing to make the most of the new guidelines but we want to reiterate that they must do so safely and respectfully. At the beaches where there aren’t any open toilets, using the surrounding area is totally unacceptable. We are doing all we can to offer some provision on our main beaches initially and ask that people plan ahead.

“Where toilets are open, there will be a number of measures in place to provide a clean and safe environment for people using them. They will be signposted with information on maintaining social distancing, a request to keep cubicles clean and hand washing instructions.

Public toilets in Margate Photo John Horton

“We will be relying on members of the public to respect the space and to act in a responsible way so that everyone who needs to use the facilities is able to do so as safely as possible.

“The toilets will be cleaned by council staff regularly throughout the day and will be closed while cleaning takes place.

“If members of the public are abusive to our staff, use offensive language or fail to respect the social distancing guidelines when interacting with them, the crew will close the facilities. Being abused by the public isn’t part of the job.

Sonia Hammond and her 8-year-old cleared rubbish left behind on Margate beach by visitors

“As well as using the toilets provided, we also want to remind beachgoers that they must take their litter off the beach to a bin, or if the bin is full home. While people were required to stay at home during lockdown, the volume of litter on the beaches was close to zero. It is deeply disappointing that after just a few days of additional freedoms people are dumping rubbish on the beach where it will end up in the sea.

“As always, these are the actions of a small minority of people. We appreciate that the vast majority of our residents and visitors do respect the rules and behave in a way that helps to protect our beautiful coastline.”

High temperatures result in people packing Thanet beaches

30 Comments

  1. If people come here and shit all over us then close the beaches
    Respect us
    I dread summer here for the amount of rubbish folk leave.
    Take it home.
    Or put it in a bin
    Homeless people shit and urinate that’s just as shitty too.

    Maybe Gavin Waite can get off his arse and help rather than doing swfa as usual.

    Sack him.

    Our toilets need an uplift and money spent on them. Attendee at them. With a queuing system…. Labour need to sort the shit out. Mind they don’t know shit from shovel when it comes to managing… Resign if you can’t do your jobs.

    • TDC have for several years now been trying to close every public toilet in Thanet, problem is if you do then this is what is going to happen. You cannot expect to be a tourist resort-constantly bigging up what wonderful clean beaches we have-except when there is sewerage being pumped into them, what wonderful shops-even though most of them have gone out of business, promoting the pretentious Turder Centre along with the surrounding luvvies art & renaissance shops & then not have anywhere for people to spend a penny.

  2. I don’t get why everywhere I’ve had to visit recently , Canterbury Herne bay Whitstable Medway towns etc All have their public toliets Open !

  3. If the Government says it is okay to use the beaches then the councils should open the toilets. It is not their job to think for themselves when the Government has decided. They should just do what they are told.

  4. This situation was due to happen as people are so ignorant and selfish today.all roads should have been blocked off and turn cars around as I have always said for years fully self cleaning stainless steel toilets that clean themselves and one at a time would solve this out once and for all other seaside towns use them Blackpool in Lancaster has had them for years rows of ten in a block and one for men.they are spread at blocks of ten along the promenade health and safety passed people there or anywhere in the UK don’t mind paying 10p to use.It seems people around here moan at paying for the use.

    • Your right Brian , Blackpool , Brighton etc has had stainless steel self cleaning toilets that charge 10p or 20 p for ages and they’re brilliant , even Whitstable has a male 24 hour small urinal kiosk that does the trick ! I’m just waiting for people being fined by tdc or the police for urinating in a public place where there’s no Loos !

    • Whilst a sympathise, if I’m not mistaken people should not be spending whole days out at beaches etc. we are still in the early phases of lockdown. On a packed Westbrook beach people were NOT following the social distancing rules. I am a 30 second walk from the beach and on my walk with my dog saw a man urinating between the beach huts. Disgusting and a health hazard. This kind of selfishness causes great anxiety.

      • Well, maybe the mixed messages from our gloriously buffoonish leader are partly to blame. Also if they don’t want people on the beaches then why aren’t the old bill enforcing it? It isn’t like they have much else to do-nobody is getting burgled because everybody is indoors, rapes/sex assaults have gone down by a ridiculous number. Have them go & stop these cretins flocking to the sands.

  5. Not surprising politics and the blame game has come into this. It can all be cured by opening the toilet and a few local volunteers, some bin bags and detergent. Ramsgate has friends of the seafront who do a great job on an area twice the size of Minnis Bay. Local pride is admirable in some areas.

  6. The comment from Dave above is spot on. Other councils have managed this perfectly well and toilets are both open and safe. As usual, TDC have been asleep at the wheel and seem surprised that lockdown was partially lifted. Instead of using the last 7 weeks to plan for reopening they seem to have given it no thought whatsoever. Instead of Councillor Albon challenging the management team to sort this out he seems to have turned into their official press office. Given he used to work there this is hardly surprising.

    Given lockdown was partially lifted coincided with forecasts of very warm weather what on earth did TDC think was going to happen? Now it will be even more of a health hazard for them to clean up all the human waste.

  7. Once again TDC have been caught with their pants down and of course when this happens the council tax payer ends up paying the bill the council knew the toilets needed a revamp golden opportunity has been missed for the work to be done and they would have spent money on that instead they have been left with shit on their hands and money down the drain in another clean up. Time after time.

  8. Operational services and it’s executive officer Gavin Waite have once again shown that they are not fit for purpose. I suggest Mr Waite leaves Deal and visits Thanet’s beaches over this bank holiday weekend, especially the ones he obviously deems unimportant such as Minnis Bay, West Bay,St Mildred’s and Westbrook. They have been heaving with visitors. It was obvious that with the easing of lockdown people would flock here to our beaches. TDC should have been prepared for this. Gross incompetence like this in the private sector would lose you your job

  9. Complete nonsense allowing people to travel 2 hours to a beach with no toilets, nothing to buy and nowhere to park. Welcome to Botany Bay! The council should have closed this beach but as usual probably aren’t even aware of the situation. We’ve had this for several years now, but with the current coronavirus pandemic it’s an insult to all the local residents who for the last 8 weeks have played by the rules only to find a swathe of visitors from all parts not only leaving god knows what behind but potentially increasing the risk of spreading this disease. TDC has let us down again, it cannot continue!!

  10. I’m not sure if some on here have corks stuck up their rear ends but looking in my book of must DOs it states if you have got to go then you have GOT To go. It’s a basic human right for Councils to supply toilets.
    So TDC stop breaking the law and get the loos open and indeed KEEP them open because residents also need to use them in the winter.

  11. And don’t forget it was the Conservative council that sold off and closed down our PUBLIC INCONVENIENCES.
    And it’s a Conservative government who has sent the visitors to our beaches.

  12. TDC for god sake pull your fingers out of your arse and act on what’s happening is there a brain amongst you I am an ex londoner and have been told told by friends and family members that some parts of london the lockdown and 2 metres rule was practically non non existent and we are letting these people come down to our beaches and towns to spread the covid virus if the toilets remain shut so should the beaches there should have been signs put up stating beaches closed and signs stating the very same on the motorway gantrys what’s the point in locals staying home to help the NHS when we are inviting the virus into our towns and onto our beaches if you haven’t got the balls to do your job then resign

    • I don’t think it would be fair to local people to close the beaches. Many of us neither cycle nor drive, and as most people don’t want to use public transport unless they have to, we are now confined to whichever town or village we live in.

      The government should not have relaxed the restriction on travel.

  13. Surely solution should be to stop people from driving to thanet beaches in the first place. Police at the Birchington roundabout and turn people back and police or council marshals on beaches. While humans are messing up beaches, dont forget dog owners & they dogs. They are unleashing & letting their dogs roam on the beaches early morning, with some dog owners not always picking up their dog poo. Its terrible that in this day and age people dont realise the risk caused by these hazards.It could be another public health pandemic.

  14. Let them come to the beaches. Let the shit where they like. Let the go home and leave there waste trash on the beaches… Leave it all for when they Come back the next day.. They won’t want to come back again anytime soon if its not clean.

  15. We should as others have said closed off the beaches and turned people back before they could enter thanet.
    Plam bay is full of people
    Maybe they should all go back to work and send their children back to school as they dont seem to mind how close they get to people.
    I and 2 members of my family are waiting for operations and people just breaking the rules are making this wait longer.
    We have stopped walking on the prom and beach as have been sticking to the rules didnt even hug our grandson on his 13th birthday makes me really mad to see all these people out and about.
    As for the loos its disgusting to use the areas around then but if people dont mind breaking the rules on one way they are not going to care about where they go to the toilet are they or where they leave all rubbish just brain dead idiots

  16. Oh yes just like that close off the beaches???? What are you lot talking about have you not looked at how much beach we have surrounding our coast. There is nothing wrong with people coming to the beach. However the toilets and refreshments outlets should be allowed to open for take way food and drink ice cream and there should be lots of rubbish bins / skips . There should also be public announcements every 30 minutes to remind beach users to obey the safety rules and life guards on duty.
    To think that the council can just tape off the beach with a few million cones is obviously not an option.

  17. I cannot understand what else people would expect from Thanet Council, when applying for a position there, you must state on your application, that you have no idea what the job involves.

    Once appointed, you must complete an intensive incompetence training course, to show that you are totally incapable of any common sense, this will also allow for a pay rise.

    • What a really hurtful thing to say, there is a large amount of frontline TDC staff that have been to work though this lockdown emptying bins, sweeping streets.Even the grass cutting teams have been on bin rounds. TDC is not perfect but a large amount of the staff work very hard, and not had a real wage rise in years. What they could of had differently during these last couple of months was to make the staff at Cecil Sq. do a couple of days a week on the bins etc. Instead of letting them work from home. The staff at Cecil Sq. were some of the first to start to work from home and have not been in since. I understand they have work to do at home, but a day a week on the front line would not do the Heads of Departments, and Managers any harm to show they are all in it together.

  18. Well said Alan, it all comes down to public investment and unfortunately the Conservatives would rather we all still lived in the dark ages. They have similar things in Norway and Sweden. I was in Norway a few months ago and the roads and pavement outside the hotel was washed twice a day, every time I go the place is spotless. As is Denmark – Sweden -Finland and many other places I have traveled to.

  19. Too much negativity, political sniping and mean spiritedness about stopping people coming to Thanet is actually bad for those people’s health. Yes public toilets are a human right and should be opened. Yes many TDC front line workers do a great job as some of our unsung heroes. Others in the council need to act, as they seem to be doing now. However, those who moan about human waste should see the about of dog waste daily ignored on the beaches and green spaces, with poo bags left and the stink of dog urine we then have to walk all over. How much money is spent on clearing up dog waste bins, when you can get animal composters to do this at your homes? That’s my bit of negativity, but with a solution and hoping there is a wake up call on all of this. And of course the public are entitled to travel to wide open spaces for their health and that of their children. Little vigilantes is not a good look for any of our community.

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