Proper toilets needed - Sheringham plea

A group of Sheringham residents is campaigning to have a portable seafront toilet block closed, and an ageing permanent building refurbished and reopened.

A group of Sheringham residents is campaigning to have a portable seafront toilet block closed, and an ageing permanent building refurbished and reopened.

A temporary building bought 2 years ago with around £25,000 of regeneration cash is put up by North Norfolk District Council on the town's east promenade from April to October.

But members of Sheringham Enhancement Group say the block is an eyesore which is dangerous and difficult to use for people of above average size.

The permanent toilet block is to be disposed of on the open market as part of the council's public convenience policy panel, established in 2005 to assess appropriate levels of public toilet provision across the district.

Enhancement group members say this will leave coastal walkers and those using the east beach without toilet facilities during the winter.

Sheringham guest house owner and group member Judith Millar said the temporary block was a "blot on the landscape".

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"It's is not just that the toilets look awful," she added. "But there is also a dangerous, rusting radiator in one cubicle, and for someone above a size 16, they are virtually impossible to get into."

The move to sell the block, which is situated on a slope leading from the beach to Cliff Road, was attacked by some townsfolk during a town council public question time.

Mayor Noel Gant the portable loos were "futile", dangerous and unlikely to impress tourists, who other councillors pointed out visited the town all year round.

Councillors agreed to pass the concerns to North Norfolk District, whose spokesman Nick Manthorpe later said the East Prom toilet closure was agreed two years ago after a review of all public conveniences.

It was too costly to bring up to modern standards, including disabled access, and hardly ever used outside the season.

The modern temporary facility was fully accessible, and "there has been no suggestion to us in two years that this facility was not completely up to the job," he added.

Visiting the east promenade at the invitation of Mrs Millar, Mr Gant expressed concern that regeneration money had been spent on the temporary toilets.

"This is something that is essential for the tourist aspect of Sheringham, and I am extremely disappointed that money that could have gone towards enhancing the promenade just hasn't. It hasn't changed since I was a boy in the 1940s, in fact, it is a sight shabbier," he said.

Sheringham Area Partnership chairman Mike Crowe said the block had been bought as part of a seafront enhancement project.

The scheme was ongoing, with further improvements including lighting, extra seating and widening of the promenade due to be made in the near future.

The east promenade will also be incorporated into a new art and sculpture trail.

"These are all co-operative ventures between the district council and SheringhamPlus Community Partnership, and because the original toilets had been closed, we decided to get a toilet block with disabled access to make the east end of the town more user-friendly," he said.