Findings from a survey into the condition of Thanet’s public toilets are expected next week, councillors at a meeting last night (March 30) were told.
The details of the survey will be used for a public toilet strategy for repairs/refurbishment which will be released after the local election in May.
In response to a question from Broadstairs Cllr Ruth Bailey, cabinet member Cllr George Kup revealed the Broadstairs Harbour Street toilets are due to be rendered and painted.
Cllr Bailey said the block was currently “a constant eyesore in a conservation area. The community payback team are willing to paint the outside but they need the rendering made good first.”
Cllr Kup said the rendering of the Broadstairs block will “take place soon.”
Cllr Bailey also noted the tender for works at Margate’s Harbour Arm toilets has gone out, saying it was “good news.”
The dire condition of the Harbour Arm toilets has been an issue for several years. However, Thanet council took back management of the Stone Pier fin 2021 after revealing the lease with then landlord Margate Harbour Arm Ltd (MHAL) would not be renewed.
MHAL had leased the harbour arm for a nominal £1 per year from 2008 until February 2021. Now TDC is undertaking the long-awaited repairs to the loos.
The works, valued at up to £35,000, are due to begin next month and will involve stripping out and replacement of all fixtures, fittings, sanitaryware, wall finishes and plumbing services for the ladies, men’s and accessible toilets.
The work at the Harbour Arm is expected to last for 6 weeks.
Temporary toilets have been installed in Margate while repairs take place at the Harbour Arm and also the Nayland toilets. Facilities at The Centre are currently closed due to fire damage and the Clocktower toilets in Marine Drive have been shut since 2019 due to ‘structural problems’.
Thanet council has installed the temporary toilets on Marine Terrace and near Droit House. These will stay in place until late September. Temporary loos are also being installed at Botany Bay.
Public toilets in Cavendish Street, Ramsgate, are also shut due to antisocial behaviour and drug use at the site.
Public toilets review
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.
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. Some of this maintenance got underway last year.
A public toilet strategy was earmarked to be discussed at the start of this year and this is now confirmed to be taking place after the May elections.
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.