Filthy, disgusting and stinking – that is a holidaymaker’s damning verdict of the public toilets in Amble.
Former town resident Gillian Boer was left horrified by the state of the loos, which are located beside the Tourist Information Centre, as well as on Broomhill Street.
Gillian, born and bred in Amble but now living in Germany, criticised the lavatories during a holiday to the Friendliest Port, visiting family.
“Everybody is complaining about them and nobody wants to use them,” she said.
“They call Amble the Friendliest Port – well it is the Friendliest Port with the filthiest toilets.
“They are absolutely disgusting. It is such a shame, because so much has been spent on the Harbour Village, which is fantastic, and the town is attracting lots and lots of visitors, only to have these filthy, stinking toilets.”
Both sets of toilets are managed by Northumberland County Council.
Mayor of Amble Craig Weir said: “My view of the public toilets is that the problem lies with the public – it is certain members of the public who make them that state and I feel that the people from the county council who have to clean these toilets deserve a medal.”
A spokeswoman for the county council said: “The council checks and cleans all the public toilets it manages on a regular basis – with the toilets in Amble being checked and cleaned each day. We encourage members of the public to let us know about any particular concerns that may have arisen during the day, so that we can take appropriate action.”
Following a review, the toilets at Broomhill Street look set to close in the winter, while the opening hours of those by the Tourist Information Centre, on Queen Street, will not change and will operate from 6.30am to 6pm.
The review by the authority is set to see changes made to the opening hours of a number of toilet facilities in north Northumberland and the review recommends that the closures will be implemented from November.
Toilets set to close in winter (from November this year): Alnmouth (possible – the county council is having discussions with the parish council about funding support); Amble – Broomhill Street; Bamburgh – Church Street; Boulmer; Low Newton-by-the-Sea; Warkworth – beach car park and Brewery Lane; Wooler (possible – the county council is having discussions with the parish council about funding support).
Toilets set to close for good: Bamburgh – Links car park, subject to discussions with Bamburgh Castle; Holy Island – Crossgates.
Concerns over impact on tourism
Following the proposals announced after the county council’s review of public toilets, concerns have been expressed in Bamburgh.
Coun John Woodman, county councillor for Bamburgh, said: “I’m obviously disappointed that there’s a draft recommendation to close one toilet and reduce the opening hours of the other in Bamburgh.
“Bamburgh is one of the most iconic settings in the county. It is a year-round visitor destination, including in winter for school educational visits.
“At a time when we are all proud of the success of the tourism industry, it seems strange to cut back on the basic infrastructure visitors need.”
MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has joined the fight and she too has highlighted the impact on tourism.
“Closing public conveniences could deter visitors and is of great concern to local people who have asked me to get involved,” she said.