Call for year-round opening of public toilets at popular Northumberland tourist hotspot

Calls have been made for the year-round opening of Beadnell’s public toilets to cater for the growing number of off-season visitors.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 12:23 pm
Toilets in Beadnell car park

The toilets, next to the Beadnell Bay car park, are currently closed from November to March.

Beadnell Parish Council has already written to Northumberland County Council to request their full-time opening but was told it would have to contribute £2,000.

Alison Nation, chair, said: “There is a need for them to be open for a longer period. Northumberland County Council and the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) have been encouraging out of season visitors to the area. Here it has been successful and there are a significant number of people around, depending on the weather.

“Numbers really are building. On a good day from November to February I still think there would be over 100 people on the beach and round and about. There are no alternatives in the area, no businesses.

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“We wrote to the county council about it and they said it would be no problem, however they would appreciate a contribution from us of £2,000. That is 16% of our precept so we can’t afford it this year.

“I also don’t think residents have an appetite to indirectly pay for this. They are mainly for visitor use.”

Local resident Deborah Baker added: “We want them to be open all year round. In the past I’ve taken people into our house because they’ve come off the beach and found the toilets closed and they were desperate.

“I am really disappointed the car parking charges have not been implemented yet. We must have lost thousands of pounds of potential revenue this summer.

“I personally think that money should be ring-fenced for the upkeep of the toilets. At this time of year they could do with being cleaned more than once a day. People are coming off the beach sandy and wet and the toilets get horrible very quickly.”

Coun Guy Renner-Thompson, the local county councillor, said the authority was planning to examine toilet provision along the whole coastal area this winter.

It was agreed to write to the county council asking for the toilets to be open all-year round at no charge to the parish council.

It has also been suggested that plans for a new cafe, surf shop and public toilets in the overflow car park area could be suitable for Borderlands funding.

A £1.15million bid by the county council to the Coastal Communities Fund was rejected earlier this year.

Jessica Turner, AONB historic and built environment officer, said: “We weren’t successful with the Coastal Communities Fund bid but those facilities would fall beautifully into the Place programme of the Borderlands initiative. I have flagged it up as a project with potential because it’s ready to go, it has planning permission and, on the whole, has community buy in. It would be a quick win.”

The Borderlands Partnership is a growth proposition backed by both the Scottish and UK Governments and is funded to the tune of £394.5million. It covers the five local authority areas which straddle the border – Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland, Carlisle and Cumbria.

Specific funding has been confirmed for some projects, subject to full business cases, including £5 million for Alnwick Garden.