“Don’t flush Seaton’s tourists away” - council urged

Underfleet toilets are vital for the town’s tourist industry, warn campaigners

CAMPAINGERS are making a last ditch plea to planning chiefs not to pull the chain on Seaton’s Underfleet toilets.

East Devon District Council’s Cabinet meets on Wednesday to decide the fate of the loos - earmarked for demolition to make way for a “public realm” development near the new Tesco site.

They are being recommended to replace them with temporary public toilets on the former TIC building site until work begins on the new visitors centre there.

But local people say retaining the purpose-built toilets, near the busy Harbour road car and coach park, is vital and have warned : “Don’t flush tourists away”.

Barbara Dearden-Potter, chairman of Seaton Development Trust’s public realm group, said that since the majority of overnight accommodation had been demolished it was more important than ever that day visitors had good toilet facilities near the main arrival and departure point in the town.

In a letter, urging the district council to think again, she said: “There will be no facilities available to the general public if The Underfleet toilets are demolished.

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“We understand from Tesco that they were asked to demolish the toilets by your council and that they are happy to leave them where they are. They are not in the way of the proposed entrance to the site and will not interfere with the circular design of the public realm.

“We also understand that the council is planning to put temporary toilet facilities in place of the old Tourist Information Centre building. The residents of Jubilee Lodge would be horrified to have yet another ‘temporary’ metal container in full view of their windows.

“Temporary toilets are unlikely to have the correct facilities for disabled people .The existing facility has four cubicles and urinal for the men and seven cubicles in the ladies, in addition to the separate facility for disabled people using a RADAR key. The buildings are not unattractive, they are serviceable and do not need replacing, particularly with unisex compartments opening directly to the outside in view of everyone.”

Mayor Peter Burrows told The Herald he also wanted the toilets retained.

He added: “I have been told that Tesco’s are happy that they remain so I am surprised at EDDC’s insistence that they go before the store is built. One thing is certain there has to be provision in the Underfleet car park.”

“I would love the toilets to remain but I feel East Devon will knock them down and replace them with temporary ones on the TIC site.”

Tourist Information Centre advisor Margaret Muir confirmed that 60 per cent of enquiries from people arriving at the nearby car park concerned where the nearest toilets were.”