Toilets closed after damage

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

A serious spate of vandalism has led to the closure of well-used and much-needed toilets at a popular village spot, and they could remain shut for the rest of the summer season.

Mindless yobs have targeted the facility at Warkworth beach car park, smashing urinals and hand basins in the men’s block and breaking the toilet handle in the disabled loo.

This came on the back of recent damage in the women’s toilets.

The closure of the county council-operated block has caused concern in the village and raises serious question marks over its future.

Warkworth Parish Council chairman Jeff Watson, who met officers at the site yesterday, said the destruction has left him ‘feeling cold’.

He added: “These toilets are important to the tourist offer of the area. However the officers said that it is likely that they will be shut for the rest of the summer season because the vandalism has been so bad. This is a major blow for tourists and residents alike.

“What are people who come to our lovely area going to do now the toilets are closed? The nearest toilets are in Warkworth centre.”

The problems at the toilet block appear to have escalated recently.

Coun Watson said: “I feel they are being targeted, because it isn’t the first time this has happened. There have been quite a few incidents over the last six months or so.”

The toilets were previously open 24 hours a day; a factor which Coun Watson, also a county councillor, is keen to try to change if and when the toilets come back into use. He said: “I have asked the officers to come along to Warkworth Parish Council’s September meeting with plans of what they are going to do and whether we can open and close the toilets, rather than have them open for 24 hours.

“Perhaps I can help with my members’ small schemes fund or the parish council may look to assist the cost of opening and closing the facility.”

He added that vandal-proof fittings and fixtures, as well as installing cameras, may well be explored.