Councillor’s despair over toilet repair delay

Jeff Watson at the Warkworth beach toilet block.
Jeff Watson at the Warkworth beach toilet block.

A frustrated parish councillor has spoken of his disappointment after work to repair well-used toilets which were destroyed by vandals is taking longer than expected.

Last summer, the Gazette reported that the facility at Warkworth beach car park had to be shut after yobs went on the rampage at the site.

The mindless louts smashed urinals and hand basins in the men’s block and broke the toilet handle in the loo for the disabled.

It came on the back of destruction in the women’s toilet, forcing the closure of the entire Northumberland County Council-operated block.

While the disabled facility was reopened for general use for the remainder of the summer season, before shutting for the winter months, the male and female toilets remained closed.

The aim was to have the block reopened for the Easter period, but at Warkworth Parish Council earlier this month, chairman Coun Jeff Watson admitted it was unlikely to happen.

Afterwards, he said: “Progress on the toilet repairs has been slow. The plan was to have them repaired before Easter, but I am a bit dubious about this. It is going to be touch and go, however the disabled toilet should be open again for people to use.

“It is disappointing that the toilets are unlikely to be repaired before Easter and I will be chasing this up.”

He said that talks were ongoing with the county council about the repairs, which could cost in the region of £12,000, and it was ‘really about where the money is coming from’.

He added that he would be willing to put cash from his members’ small schemes fund into the project, while the parish council has also agreed to contribute towards the upkeep of the toilets.

The meeting also heard that Coun Watson had met a county-council officer who had proposed that the Brewery Lane toilets be closed over the winter months if several pubs in the village were signed up to the You’re Welcome scheme, which allows the public to use their facilities.

She would investigate whether the pubs were interested and then provide an update to the parish council.