Reopening of public toilets in Sidmouth: the good news, and the bad news

  Posted: 30.04.21 at 15:56 by Philippa Davies

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Sidmouth’s Long Park public toilets will be open again from tomorrow (Saturday, May 1).

Following a recent risk assessment by East Devon District Council, it was decided that the loos could reopen, with the Covid precautions of extra cleaning, social distancing markers and hand sanitisers.

The toilets will be cleaned at least four times a day, with Sidmouth Town Council paying the extra cost to make the facilities available again in time for the expected influx of visitors.

However, the Port Royal toilets are remaining closed for the time being, to the disappointment of town councillors.

At the last town council meeting earlier this month, district council officer Nick Christo said a risk assessment of the Port Royal facilities on that very day had concluded that they were not suitable for reopening because the layout did not lend itself to providing a Covid-safe facility.

Councillors suggested various measures to get around this, such as remodelling the toilet building to make more space, or providing portable toilets to help meet the demand during busy times.

Chairman Ian Barlow said it’s very important for Sidmouth to be able to offer the facilities visitors would expect – including public conveniences in the busy Ham area: “East Devon District Council gets a huge benefit from Sidmouth, from the tourism we bring in … we are being visited by thousands of people, and we need to make sure we look after these people so that they come back not just this year but next year and the next five years.

“This is something that we’re passionate about because it’s our town and we get a lot of complaints about this.”

But no decision was reached at that meeting.

Today (Friday, April 30), East Devon District Council said in a statement that its Cabinet is set to discuss the potential reopening of the Port Royal toilets, but 'no decisions have been made at this time'.

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