Public toilets across South Tyneside could be closed - or even ‘privatised’ - as council bosses looks for more ways to save cash.
The borough’s ruling Labour group is targeting toilets as part of a review of services, which could mean the closure of some, while the running of others could be put out to tender.
A spokesman for the council says there are “no plans to close any public toilets” without replacing them with alternative facilites.
But a senior Labour source said that could mean utilising facilities at public buildings - like Haven Point on the seafront and the soon-to-be-completed new library, The Word - in stead of purpose-built buildings.
The source said: “There has been talk of closing some of the borough’s public conveniences and putting out to tender those that will remain.
“The toilets we still have are in prime locations for visitors. If they go, where are visitors supposed to go when they are caught short?
“It’s an area that needs looked at as the last thing we would want is bad reviews of our seafront due to lack of public conveniences.”Labour source
“There has been talk of, if the toilets are closed, that people could use The Word or, if they are at the seafront, Haven Point. But how would tourists know?
“It’s an area that needs looked at, as the last thing we would want is bad reviews of our seafront due to lack of public conveniences.”
The news has also not been well receieved by the council’s only opposition member, Coun Lee Hughes.
The Independent - Putting People First Coun for Bede said: “It’s disappointing there could be fewer places for people to spend a penny.
“There are hardly any toilets down the seafront as it is. To look at reducing the number in one of the most-visited areas of the borough, in particular in the summer months, is a bit daft.
“There are venues down at the seafront, but their toilets are for their customers.”
The council have not denied that there could be some closures of public toilet facilities.
A spokesman for the council said: “We are expanding and refurbishing our public toilets in key areas within the borough, which reflects the council’s commitment to provide clean and safe facilities for both our residents and visitors.
“New public facilities are planned at the Foreshore, while the toilets at the former Ghandi’s Temple have been re-located to an enhanced setting at the former Tourist Information Centre at the Amphitheatre.”
“We have no plans to close any public toilets at present without replacing them with alternative facilities.”
The plan comes two weeks after the council introduced green waste charges to raise cash.