Thanet council says rumours circulating today (August 14) that the authority is planning to shut down public toilets in Ramsgate are incorrect.
Fears were raised that loos at Ramsgate cemetery, King George VI Park and the main sands, as well as the already shut facilities in Cavendish Street, would be closed permanently from next year.
However, Thanet council says the rumours are not true.
A spokesperson said: “Rumours surrounding the imminent closure of a number of public toilets in Ramsgate are not true.”
Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee and Cabinet Member for Community Safety George Kup also issued a statement, saying: “In relation to the Facebook post of this morning headed “SAVE OUR LOOS” implying that the Tory-led Thanet council is closing four toilets in Ramsgate, the real facts are that we are working to find a long term and sustainable solution to keep the toilets in the district open and for longer periods.
“The toilets will not be closed, in fact the plan is to have the beach toilets open longer not just in the main summer holidays.
“A full review is underway and various solutions will be sought to provide well maintained facilities available for the public. On completion of the review the outcome will be presented at Cabinet for an open and transparent discussion.
“The Cavendish Street toilets in Ramsgate closed in March 2022 as a result of continued anti-social and criminal behaviour which put TDC staff at risk and will remain closed until a suitable solution can be found.”
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 due to the continued pandemic.
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 yet taken place.
Town council management suggestion
Ramsgate Town Council clerk Laura Fidler says there was a suggestion that RTC could take over facilities but this was rejected.
She said: “I confirm that earlier in the year Thanet District Council asked Ramsgate Town Council to consider taking on management of the following public conveniences:
- Pier Yard
- Cavendish Street
- King George VI Park
- Ramsgate Cemetery
“Ramsgate Town Council considered the matter in March 2022 and resolved not to. We’re not aware of any decision by Thanet District Council to close these facilities.”
Town councillor David Green says the reason RTC did not take the plan forward is because it requested information from TDC regarding the likely, cost of maintaining the toilets, and the terms of any transfer. These were not provided and so the idea was rejected, says Cllr Green.
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 in April it was revealed the firm is in talks with Thanet council about improvements to public toilets with water efficient facilities.