Published: March 28, 2008
Anger as district council puts Burnham-On-Sea public toilets up for sale

Sea View Road public toiletsThe chances of a block of public loos re-opening in Burnham appear to have been flushed away after Sedgemoor District Council began inviting bids from firms interested in buying the building.

Despite saying last November that the loos in Sea View Road (pictured) would re-open for the start of the 2008 tourist season, the district council has begun inviting offers for what it describes as "the former public conveniences" off Sea View Road in Burnham.

The district council's valuation office states in an advert on its website that: "Sedgemoor District Council invites informal offers to be submitted by 12 noon on Wednesday 2nd April 2008 for the former public conveniences."

The news that the toilets are up for sale has annoyed town councillors, who have been assured several times that the facilities would re-open.

Town Clerk Eileen Shaw told on Thursday (March 20th): "We're not happy about this. We haven't been formally told in advance that bids were going to be invited. There has been no consultation."

And Deputy Mayor Cllr Neville Jones added: "We know Sedgemoor wants to sell off the family silver but selling public toilets in a tourist town like this just isn't on."

Writing on Bunham-On-Sea's discussion forums, Sedgemoor Leader Duncan McGinty said: "They were inspected about six weeks ago with a view to opening them for the summer season, unfortunately they had been vandalised. I am informed that a report was taken to the Town Council with a few options. The one recommended and agreed was to close, sell them and ring fence the money for alternative toilet provision in Burnham."

The toilets were temporarily closed in April 2007 amid vandalism and anti-social behaviour and have never re-opened despite pressure from the town council and tourism bosses, who argue that more public loos are needed. As recently as last November, the district council told that the loos in Sea View Road "would re-open for the start of the 2008 tourist season."

A recent poll of Sedgemoor Tourism Association members found the provision of public toilets is one of the top two concerns among visitors to the town, along with a lack of parking in Burnham.


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