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Tourism fears spark toilets reprieve

Bamburgh. Picture by Jane Coltman
Bamburgh. Picture by Jane Coltman

A number of public toilets, which were earmarked for closure following a county council review, have been reprieved after further discussions.

As reported in September, the review looked at the 62 public toilets the council currently owns or operates across the county and proposed changes.

It was expected to result in £120,000 of savings and originally recommended nine toilets being closed permanently with more being shut over the winter.

But at yesterday’s meeting of the county council’s local services scrutiny committee, it was revealed that changes have been made, with several public conveniences set to stay open.

In Bamburgh, the Church Street toilets were to close over the winter and the Links car park facility to close for good.

Now, the Links closure has been deferred while Church Street will stay open in winter.

In Low Newton-by-the-Sea, the toilets were to be closed during winter, but this facility too will now stay open all year round.

The cleaning arrangements will be amended to reduce costs.

The Crossgates toilets on Holy Island were to be shut too, but that has been scaled back to just a winter closure.

In these three cases, the alterations have been made due to the popularity of these places with visitors, not just during the peak season, but all through the year.

In Alnmouth, Boulmer and Wooler, there were proposals to close the facilities over the winter.

These closures have been deferred pending further discussions with the relevant parish councils, but if agreement cannot be reached, winter closure will go ahead.

Coun Kate Cairns, whose ward covers Newton-by-the-Sea and who is also a member of the parish council, said: “I welcome the move and the fact that decision-making members have listened to local councillors.”

Coun Heather Cairns, a member of the local services scrutiny committee, added: “This is the right result for Newton-by-the-Sea, the visiting tourists and residents. We appreciate the commitment of resource and recognise that savings will have to be made elsewhere.”