Toilet closure proposal goes down the pan

The seafront toilet at The Arches will stay open all year-round

The seafront toilet at The Arches will stay open all year-round - Credit: Archant

Shutting single public loo would have saved thousands

A BID to save thousands of pounds of public money - by stopping residents and visitors spending a penny in a town toilet during the winter – has been dashed.

Some town councillors wanted the single seafront loo at The Arches closed from the end of October to March.

But others passionately panned the proposal on Monday – saying bursting tourists wouldn’t be able to make it 100 yards up the road to conveniences at the Three Cornered Plot.

Councillor Ian Barlow, chairman of the maintenance contracts committee which recommended the lavatory be closed, said it would lead to ‘substantial savings’.

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The meeting heard the toilet costs £9,859-a-year to be cleaned twice a day.

“The money could be used elsewhere for the good of the town,” said Cllr Barlow.

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But hopes of the closure floundered when members expressed fears for visitors - as the loo is especially popular with elderly coach passengers dropped off at the western end of The Esplanade.

“I know it is a substantial saving, but I think as a tourist town this is the wrong message,” said Cllr Graham Liverton.

“Welcome to Sidmouth, there’s your loo,” is the impression he wanted tourists to be greeted with.

“To have this shut will send the message that we are closed until Easter,” added Cllr Ann Liverton.

Cllr John Hollick described the loo as ‘a vital amenity’.

Cllr Mary Jolly added: “Coaches stop there. People have come quite a long way and the first thing they want is the toilet.”

“When you have to go, you have to go.

“That is an asset to any disabled person,” said Cllr Frances Newth.

A vote on the issue was tied, but chairman Stuart Hughes resolved to keep the toilet open all year round with his casting vote.

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