Portable toilets to be reinstalled in Margate as public loo review continues

Portable loos in Margate last month Photo John Horton

Thanet council will install portable toilets at Margate seafront and Botany Bay once again.

The portaloos will be open from (UPDATE) May 11 until September and will be based near to the Clocktower toilets in Marine Drive which were shut in 2019 due to ‘structural problems’ and have remained closed ever since.

Portable toilets were in place on Margate seafront and at Botany Bay ahead of the early May Bank Holiday weekend – but only for the week from April 28 to May 4.

Last year the portable toilets were put in place at the end of March but that was not repeated this year with Thanet council saying there were enough public toilets for “sufficient provision” over the Easter break.

Margate Central ward councillors Rob Yates and Helen Whitehead have been calling for the toilets to be installed as soon as possible due to complaints from seafront traders that customers are being caught short.

The original date given to councillors for the portaloos to be reinstalled (May 28) had coincided with the end of the Empire of Light filming in the town but this has now been brought forward to May 11.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: ““In anticipation of the good weather, portaloos are being installed at Margate Main Sands and Botany Bay on Wednesday 11 May. This activity is part of the council’s Beach Management Plan to help ensure residents and visitors enjoy our beaches.”

Cllr Rob Yates

Labour ward councillor Rob Yates said: “After numerous business complaints and lobbying, the Conservative-run TDC has U-turned, and Margate will get Portaloos at main sands again – from 28th May until September.

“ I have asked that one of the portaloos be disabled friendly again.

“However, this is a step forward from the Council’s previous statement that the toilet provision along Margate’s seafront was “sufficient”. The next step is to find a permanent toilet solution as the demand is not going away any time soon.”

A post by Cliftonville West ward councillors says: “Portaloos will be back on Margate main sands from (28th May – now May 11) for the season. Whereas not an ideal solution, it is good news for local businesses and visitors, while we await the outcome of the review of facilities by Thanet Council.”

Loo queue during covid restrictions Photo Rob Yates

Thanet council is currently conducting a review of the isle’s public toilets – again.

In 2019 a review into the future of the isle’s public toilets was announced by TDC as part of a bid to save £175,000 in its 2019-20 budget. A community loo deal with local businesses was one idea suggested although no further action was made public.

Thanet council’s corporate statement for 2019-2023 stated it planned to: “Undertake a full and thorough review of our public toilet facilities including providing incentives for businesses to make good quality facilities available to the public.”

A review was then agreed in November 2020 when it was reported by TDC that a total of 28 public toilets were open to the public over the summer season with 13 on or near to Thanet beaches. The review and recommendations were due to be reported back to Cabinet members  in March 2021 although this did not take place.

The council’s 2020/21 budget  made a proposal to invest in a public toilet refurbishment programme, reversing the plan to make £175,000 in savings, although this has not taken place.

Closed: Toilets at Cavendish Street

Most recently public toilets in Cavendish Street, Ramsgate, were shut due to antisocial behaviour and drug use at the site.

Councils are not required by law to provide  loos and continuing cuts to local authority funding have resulted in public toilets plunging by more than 600 across the country since 2010.

At a meeting hosted by Southern Water last month it was revealed the firm is in talks with Thanet council about improvements to public toilets with water efficient facilities.

Further details of the latest public toilet review are yet to be released.

Find Thanet’s public toilets and opening times here


  1. Maybe the council can install some down the western undercliff at Ramsgate , or am I hoping for a miracle

    • I was under the impression thye new owners of the western undercliff building, will have to provide public wc’s.
      Doubt they will be free to use, have seen new privately funded public toilets which are just unisex cubicles at £1 (not cash-debit card only)for 9 minutes, with izal type paper and then the door springs open !.

      Cavendish road toilets wewe often a complete disgrace attracting drug dealers/users and others with no intent to use a wc as a toilet although tdc cleaning staff did their best. Think the new property owners down that road had a say on the outcome of that filth hole.

      Private investment seems to be what some councils want.

      ToiletGate, the story continues…

      • Thanet council should be ashamed.with all the hype of Margate booming.apparently thanks to the turner gallery.and yet Holliday makers,haue to endure,porter loos.most main toilets in summer smell badley,this is every year.use disenfent.start checking.get Margate sea front toilets open,give a set date.local taxi driver.

  2. I’m really interested to know why the review of toilets which was meant to report to Cabinet in March 2021 didn’t actually take place. Wasn’t that Labour who were in control of the Cabinet then ? Wasn’t Whitehead and Yates part of that Cabinet ?

    No good moaning that things aren’t getting done when they had the perfect opportunity to resolve Thanet’s toilet issue then didn’t bother seeing it through.

    • The key words in your first sentence are “which was meant to report to Cabinet”. This isn’t a cabinet issue, Labour or Conservative. It’s the officers of Thanet District Council who were supposed to report.

      • The elected members are in charge of the Council. They instruct the officers to produce reports and present them to Cabinet.

        If the Labour Cabinet failed to get the officers to complete a review and report to them as requested by that very same Cabiney then that shows a distinct lack of leadership more than anything else and, as usual, the district has sufffered for it.

        • Indeed it is the councillors who run the council, not the officers.
          I note that the council is currently Toty, and has been mostly Tory or UKIP for a number of years.

          • Oh Phyllis, you really are being a little behind the woke times! Councillors who chastise officers for incompetence face endless inquiries in to professional standards and to spend money to improve facilities against officers advice brings a quiet whisper in the ear of you risking personal liability for the costs.
            Been going on for decades as Woke Central took over public sector unions.

    • They look awful, they could have been screened off but that location was probably chosen due to adjacent street lighting & cctv camera.
      How long are they going to be there ? temporary structures generally dont need planning permission, often a license and permission if in a conservation area.

      They are on google maps/streetview, with a chemical waste tanker suctioning them out.

  3. There should be a list published by TDC of where all these public toilets are as it’s not easy to find any when you need one.

    Also those girdles need removing from the base of the trees by the closed toilets in Cavendish street as shown in the picture above as they are too tight and will strangle them to death. Maybe that is what they want though. Less trees to worry about, and there are not many left in our concrete jungle of Thanet now.

  4. Is TDC the poorest council in the UK ?

    other seaside towns I visit all have plenty of toilets, well signed posted and kept clean. No sign of drug or sexual behaviour in them.

    These seaside towns are thanets rivals for the tourists trade.

    Perhaps it’s just the people of thanet themselves that are the problem.
    We have people on scooters bombing thought the area, people sleeping in doorways, drunk people walking around and the smell of weed is over powering at times.

    So I think the portable toilets fit in with the area and I guess the arty community think they look arty so it’s a win win !!

    • What the hell is the problem that some local people seem to have with visual art? The word “arty” is being overused and now seems to be a description of “people whose pictures/sculptures/whatever are disliked by the writer.

  5. Of course-you can have basic facilities for the Queen’s ego trip, just like when she came down many years back they actually went out & cleaned the streets. But the rest of the year you can just hold onto it, or pull your pants down & add to the stream of dog turds.

    The ones in Cavendish Street were pretty grim, but at least it was in use. Feel sorry for the people in Ramsgate-who now have less facilities than those in Margate. Rather sums up TDC/KCC who have endless money to throw at useless vanity art/BLM/ego projects for over a decade & then say they cannot afford to provide basic amenities-a shower of you know what.

  6. My problem is it is normally the standard of a 5 year.

    Banksy does graffiti its art

    Joe blogs does graffiti its graffiti.

    Why both done to the same standard both look ok but banksy is art because the arty community like his because he is one of them.
    Joe blogs graffiti isnt liked because he isnt from the arty community.

    I like art I can appreciate the skill of the artist. But I dont appreciate the art of a 5yr old done my an adult.
    I have better art work by my 5 yr old grandson stuck on my fridge than the TC.

    The problem is the arty community seem to be getting hand out after hand out of our taxes. Every other story on here seems to be another arty project.

    Thanet is getting over run with art and to be honest I dont see any improvement in thanet. House prices going up is all I see !

    • Do please stop using the word “arty”.I am bored to tears by sport but I never say or write “the sporty community”.

          • I don’t think people can write whatever they want here. Does Kathy Bailes never delete comments then?
            I do not, however, understand why people want to exaggerate so ridiculously on these comment threads- even when it is clear that they are factually mistaken- nor why they can’t use words accurately.

  7. PS

    Why do you think we have so many problems with groups of kids hanging around ?

    Because there is nothing for them to do. No youth clubs and clubs that do exist need more funding be it boxing, football etc, but funding goes to art projects. I had youth clubs etc If someone had told be to go to an arty club I would have just laughed.

    We really are failing our young people

      • Welcome Marva to the intellectual discussion where D.F.L’s are referred to as ‘Arty’, the Turner Gallery as ‘would make a good B&Q’ and proof positive of a local issue of whinging every time there is an initiative to bring employment to the region.

        Keep posting and you will soon be satisfied with a third rate NHS and want to go back to the good old days when Ramsgate got rid of its illuminations!

    • Just an excuse-most will behave that way regardless of what you build for them due to abysmal parenting/lack of role models in their lives to aspire to & when you do create clubs they usually end up being use by them for boozing, drug dealing/taking, bullying etc.

    • I never went to youth/football/boxing clubs, but I turned out all right. Then again, I was happy go out on my bike or go climbing trees in woods/parks, etc (we never had beaches in South London!).

      • Exactly, there is always something to do. Read a book & broaden your mind, plenty of open spaces to run/jog etc for free. You don’t have to behave like a yobbo just because there is no youth club or skateboard park.

  8. Boris said the other day that “Tory councils thrive but Labour fail.” He hasn’t been to Thanet. All I see is a waste of our money every year on useless projects or compensation payments. Thanet is all about pain with no gain except the backhanders of course. As mentioned before other seaside towns do indeed have many toilets and are kept clean. It does attract visitors. Thanet however supply porta loos that really look loverly on the prom. I visit many seaside places in my days and Thanet is the dirtiest by far.

  9. When are the toilets in the parks going to be opened. Parks are really well used now but kids/ adults are using the bushes to defecate which is really not nice. Dog walker’s are expected to clean up after their dogs but we seem to be in the middle ages for human needs.

  10. Only TDC would think it a good idea to close public conveniences in one of its prime tourist locations as a cost saving measure, disregarding the public health issues as a result and then drag it’s heals in conducting a needs assessment. Councillors from both main political parties have had a number of years to sort out this problem but have buried their heads in the sand, persisting with expensive Ad Hoc temporary solutions.
    This situation also really says so much about the low regard the senior officers have for tourists/ visitors and the residents of Margate .

    Yet again to have to be grateful and to witness the spectacle of port a loos situated in a visually prime location on the promenade opening directly onto the thoroughfare shared with pedestrians and cyclists, what other council would behave in such a cavalier manner?
    Are the locating of port a loos without some kind of modesty partition breaking planning rules given their location anyway is this not a contravention of some bylaw ?

    Fortunately those in the know can drop by the Turner gallery and avail themselves of the newly refurbished luxury 5 * facilities there with out fear of let or injury paid for by a combination of public and private benefactors.
    In response to an earlier comment Margate is probably not the poorest seaside town but probably regrettably amongst the “worst run” seemingly regardless of which political party is at the helm. Even in Ramsgate there are numerous reasonably maintained public conveniences on the seafront.
    My believe the problem with our council is more about attitude which stinks than solely about resources .

  11. I think it’s all a lie anyway..if the toilets are unsafe below ground, then presumably they are also unsafe to walk over above ground. The portaloo’s are disgusting and an embarrassment..the employed staff and councilors should be ashamed that they reduce the town to this situation.

  12. why dont they convert that lovely old barge – moored in the prime spot in ramsgates inner basin into a floating s**thouse , i am sure it would be a uk first , and a massive tourist attraction for ramsgate , i havent noticed anything useful being done with it since it first washed up there.

  13. The toilets are a total disgrace! Apparently, the main toilets close to the bus cafe are cleaned out of season which is rubbish. I’d pay to use a hygienic toilet. With thousands of people visiting I can’t believe TDC have gotten away with it for so long. It lets the good that’s being done in Margate down.

  14. Problem with public toilets is the type of people that ‘hang about’ near them or in them .. I can see why they wanted to close them .. they attract lots of ‘antisocial behaviour’ .. but I get it older people need to pee ! .. it’s a tough call for the council but I say open them.. this will stop urinating in the streets but then increase drugs and sex in the toilets.. it’s catch 22

  15. Money was allocated to upgrade these toilets in Marine gardens in TDC meeting before Covid arrived ….where has it gone to put public conveniences (portable) on pavements is unsightly and not hygienic surely would have been better opposite in shelter with signpost IE doors left open ect🙄

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