Published: August 13, 2012
Closed public toilets in Burnham costing tax payers £2,600 a year

Tax payers in Burnham-On-Sea are footing an annual bill of £2,600 for a block of public toilets that have been closed for four years.

Sedgemoor District Council has confirmed to this week that it is funding the lease for the facilities beneath Burnham Yacht Club even though they have been shut to the public since 2008.

"The toilet block is subject to a lease that runs until March 2015," council spokeswoman Sam Elliott explained to

"The annual rent of £2,600 is payable until the lease expires. We have discussed the possibility of an early surrender but the Sailing Club have indicated a preference to continue to receive the quarterly rental payment."

District councillor Joe Leach, whose ward includes the facilities, criticised the council for the "ridiculous" situation.

He told "This is a bit of a surprise. It is ridiculous that tax payers are having to pay out for facilities that they're not getting."

"I also understand that Sedgemoor will have to refurbish the toilets to hand them back to the Sailing Club - so really the council should be spending the capital funding now to bring them up to standard and get them re-open to the public, especially when there so few toilet facilities in Burnham anyway."

In 1994 Sedgemoor District Council entered into a 21-year lease to use the toilets as public conveniences for the community and visitors to use whilst visiting the south end of The Esplanade.

"These facilities were not well used and became a site for unsavoury behaviour; so much so that public use all but ceased. Sedgemoor District Council, in consultation with the Police, took the view in 2008 to close the facility to stop that behaviour," added the spokeswoman.

Both parties - the council and sailing club - need to agree to an early terminate of a lease, which is not currently near.

SDC is also in discussions with the club as to the final use of their space, which will determine in what will need to be done at the end of the lease period.

The spokeswoman added: "In the past 18 years, circumstances have changed considerably. We took the lease with good intentions. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few meant that this facility closed. We are in a legal agreement which means we have to honour the lease until its termination date. There is nothing we can do to resolve this situation."


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