Dorset

Poole public toilets set for £492k refurbishment

Baiter Park toilets
Image caption Baiter Park is among the toilet blocks to be refurbished

Almost half a million pounds is to be spent reopening toilets in a town which has "suffered" from a lack of public conveniences.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council's Unity Alliance administration has approved the £493,000 scheme.

Campaigners previously branded Poole's toilet closures a "public health risk".

Conservative opposition councillors said there was "no evidence" to justify the spending.

Rows erupted in 2017 over the decision by the former Poole Borough Council to close facilities. Campaigners claimed visitors were forced to urinate and defecate in nearby bushes.

Toilets at Poole Quay and Lake Pier are now set to reopen, with six other blocks - Poole Park West Gate, The Haven, Hamworthy Park, Baiter, Whitecliff and The Watch Station - are to be refurbished, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'Very concerned'

Lib Dem council leader Vikki Slade said the move would "harmonise services" in the three towns.

"Residents and visitors to Poole are seriously short-changed by a lack of toilets compared to Bournemouth and Christchurch," she said.

But Conservative councillor Nicola Greene questioned the cost of the project.

"I'm not able to understand how something is being prioritised when there is a lack of evidence. I'm very concerned that [the authority is] committing half a million pounds to it."

The council said the funding would be taken from an under-spend by the former Poole council.

Mark Howell of the Poole People party said: "Poole has suffered as a result of the closure of many of its public toilets."

Poole Borough Council and authorities in Bournemouth and Christchurch combined earlier this year to form the new BCP unitary authority.

It is now run by the so-called Unity Alliance, made up of Liberal Democrats, Green, Poole People and independent councillors.

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