Public toilet upgrade plan approved by Thanet council Cabinet members

Public toilets

By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Esson

Council Cabinet members have confirmed that public toilets in dire state of repair will be refurbished in a “much-needed” £1.25 million makeover with another £250k ‘anticipated’ to be granted by Southern Water.

Thanet council (TDC) has committed to splashing out on 10 public toilets across Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs and at the towns’ beaches in the first phase of an improvement programme.

The move to sort out the loos has been welcomed as a “fundamental” upgrade to the seaside destinations with work hoped to be done in time for next summer.

At a meeting on Thursday (December 14), cabinet member Cllr Steve Albon said: “This will focus on addressing existing defects and is not a full refurbishment of the toilets but they will return them to a much higher standard of repair.”

Of the total cost of the project, £1.25m is from the local authority and £250,000 is “anticipated although not yet approved via an external grant from Southern Water,” Cllr Albon confirmed.

He added: “This investment is proposed to be the start of an anticipated wider and longer-term programme of public toilet improvements subject to further funding being identified.”

Cllr Reece Pugh (Con), the council’s opposition leader, said at the meeting: “I really welcome this, I think it’s much-needed, it’s a long time coming.

“When you think of many of the visitors to the district that come to the beaches and of course the state of disrepair that some of our toilets are in I, think it’s probably one of the first things that they see, and we need to do better.”

In response to a question from Cllr Pugh, council leader Cllr Rick Everitt (Lab) confirmed there had previously been talks with contractor Your Leisure about taking over and reopening some formerly closed public toilets. However, he said there was “more work to be done” and TDC would have to make sure any deal provided value for money.

Cllr Everitt said: “The main priority for us has been making sure that there are some works done before next season on the toilets that most urgently need them,” adding that improved opening hours were also being looked at.

‘First phase’

There are 27 public lavatories across Thanet, and the first wave of the project will see works to 10 of them.

An initial budget of £279k will be used for repairs. Additionally, £571k of capital funding has been identified for new build works where public toilets may be end of life or require a new accessible toilet.

There is also expected to be £650k of additional external funding. This is made up of £250k from Southern Water – if agreed – and £400k from the Margate Town Deal.

The toilets to be refurbished in the first wave are:

  • St Mildred’s Bay, Westgate (£18k)
  • West Bay, Westgate (£36k)
  • Joss Bay (£21k)
  • Broadstairs Harbour (£72k)
  • The Centre, Margate (£13k)
  • Ramsgate Pier Yard (£39k)
  • Viking Bay (chalet block) (£80k)

A recommendation has been made to build a new toilet block at Stone Bay in Broadstairs, which will include accessible facilities with £450k capital funding with the possibility of a further £121k revenue contribution – dependent on whether the Southern Water contribution is agreed for Botany Bay and the amount spent on other repair works.

It is also proposed to reopen the subterranean toilets located at Margate Main Sands along with the creation of a new accessible toilet at promenade level from £400k Margate Town Deal funding. This is not expected to happen until 2025.

New accessible toilets will also be provided at Botany Bay under the plans using the £250k from Southern Water if agreed. If that funding is not received, the works in Botany Bay will be limited to repairs only.

Welcomed

Marcus Mohanty, who runs Lulu’s Gelato in Margate, said he “welcomes anything that’s going to improve the infrastructure and make it [the area] more attractive”.

The state of the local loos is “something that a lot of people comment on when they come to visit,” the 49-year-old explained.

Portaloos in place of public toilets and decrepit lavatories are “just not good enough for a town that has got a very long seaside tradition and is a very popular place to visit in summer,” the businessman added.

Further funding needed

Works on Minnis Bay, Alpha Road, Station Road, Dumpton Gap, Harold Road, College Walk, Marine Terrace (Buenos Ayres), King George VI Park, Royal Esplanade Ramsgate (Screaming Alley), Cavendish Street, Ramsgate Cemetery, Ramsgate Bathing Station, Victoria Gardens, Hopeville Avenue, Vere Road, Crofts Place have been costed but are subject to future funding being identified.

The Western Undercliff at Ramsgate has now been added to the list. During the summer ward councillors paid for portable loos at the site which has been without facilities since the café site was severely damaged in October 2014.

Before the end of October 2024 a new report will come to the cabinet explaining progress so far and proposals for which toilets to tackle next.

Thanet council’s £1.25m plan for works to improve isle’s public toilets

Additional reporting by Kathy Bailes

28 Comments

  1. from what i remember of public toilets in thanet i hope they are providing armed security in them , they are not safe places to visit ,and are mainly used by the cottaging community which is rife in this area

  2. These definitely need seeing to most towns and seaside towns have invested in self cleaning automatic toilets and earn revenue by at least a twenty pence charge only needs someone to change the toilet rolls and soap it’s worth having a look at these.All stainless steel and vandal proof.

      • Anyone with urinary incontinence at whatever age, gender or for whatever reason. Perhaps you’ve never been pregnant or have young children who need the loo. Generally speaking having public toilets is seen as a civilized necessity.

    • The Victorians were quite happy to ”spend a penny” to use a decent, clean toilet.

      Now folks are demanding they be free – but in the same breath complaining about the poor state of them or the lack of availability.

      Surely a charge of £1 today would be commensurate to Victorian earnings and would provide funding to maintain the public toilets to an acceptable standard.

      As there is ”no such thing as a free lunch” – why does everybody expect a free toilet ?

      • Fine – as long as (a) they take cash, and (b) there are cleaners on site. I also think £1 is too much. 20p is enough, as anymore and people will be doing it elsewhere.

        I mention (a), because I visited a London park last year, where the 20p entry to toilets were via card only! Hardly inclusive.

  3. It’s all very well spending cash on them but what’s the point when the coastal toilets are closed for so many months.

    At least open the coastal toilets at weekends. It’s disgraceful that none are open between Broadstairs and Margate between October and April

  4. Look, there have been never ending moans about the state of public toilets,but when TDC finally start to do something you still moan.
    See what happens and then complain if nothing happens.

  5. Toilets desperately need upgrading. And while they are at it, how about showers for the homeless.Years ago there were public baths for people to use for a small charge. These people may be homeless but they don’t want to be dirty. Apart from the health aspect, which falls back on our overstretched nhs. Please consider this idea TDC.

    • Good point Susan Layton. There were public baths at the public baths in the town I grew up in i.e. cubicles with bathtubs. I used them just a few times while living in lousy accommodation. The general trend for those who can afford it to have absolutely every amenity in their own homes has made it look as if people don’t need such things anymore, which obviously isn’t true. Yeah, a bath or shower does truly seem like a necessity in the humblest of dwellings but even launderettes with some extra large washing machines for curtains etc. and tumble dryers, which not everyone owns by a long chalk, are now thin on the ground. And with the growth of homelessness all such things can make the difference between having some morale and utter misery or indeed getting the job or not standing a chance.

  6. Public amenities blocks should include showers, toilets, and changing facilities and be staffed 8 am 7pm. Many other countries have these facilities. in the UK, we always seem to be the poor man of Europe thanks too the likes of Cameron and the Conservative party and Brexit.

    • Hilarious!
      Public toilets on the Isle of Thanet to Brexit.
      That has to be the most tenuous link I’m ever likely to hear.
      If only we really knew what we were voting for.
      Thanks Ann. That’s made my day.
      Merry Christmas.

      • Mr Brown, are you openly admitting that you voted for Brexit? Or have I misunderstood your use of the word “we”?

        • Of the many meanings of the word, I used it to mean “people in general”. Exactly the same way Ann did in her comment & I doubt very much that you misunderstood.
          I mearly fail to see the connection of Brexit or indeed my personal view on Brexit to public toilets.
          However, to answer your question. When the choice was given to eligible voters at the time to have their say I have no problem in saying that I was part of the majority that voted to leave.
          I’m sure you will not like my answer & I respect that. I don’t plan to get into any debate about the pros & cons of the matter. We’ll have to agree to disagree.
          Please do feel free to explain the connection that I may have missed.

  7. Talking of toilets… I had the misfortune to walk past the shelter next to the closed Primark today, and it absolutely stunk of stale pee. Why can’t TDC hose them down?

  8. That shelter is disgusting, it needs to be hosed down every day and night , the rubbish left in there would soon disappear, it is supposed to be a shelter for all the public to use not just low life scum, if you think that’s harsh look at the filth they create and the damage caused.

    • If I visited Margate on a day trip and saw that, I’d never return… just like I only visited Brighton once, and was totally disgusted by the tents in the main shopping area.

      • Do you object to gazebos as well as tents in shopping areas?

        Be warned! the weekly market will return to Ramsgate soon and you might want to give it a wide berth

        • It’s the occupants who are drunk/stoned/p-ssing/sh-tting/etc that offend my senses, rather than the temporary buildings. I’m guessing you’re used to that sort of thing.

Comments are closed.