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The following statement was read out on behalf of Honorary Alderman, Peter Burrow, in relation to the public toilet review:
“As I have been involved in getting the carnival events back up and running I had taken less of an interest in Council events, however I picked up on the review in late September as I was involved with the previous one many years ago and has encouraged me back onto Seaton Town Council.
The paper mentioned a co-ordinated campaign in getting people to response to the questionnaire when the results are not to the liking of those that initiated the consultation in the first place. To get as much response in the cornerstone of any democracy.
The consultation was itself loaded to make people support the premise of the categorisation made by the officers before answering questions about the toilets themselves. I, myself, had to go through it five times before putting the answers in, so it is disingenuous of the officers complaining of co-ordinated campaigns when they do not like the answers that they were expecting.
If when I personally went on Facebook to encourage people to response to the consultation less than a week before the closing date is the co-ordinated campaign I feel the officers underestimate the feelings of the residents of Seaton as a proper campaign done seven weeks earlier would have got an even more representative view of their opinions.
Relating to the Underfleet toilets, in clear view, the officers say that they can use the facilities at Tesco’s as it was a planning condition. There was a planning condition that two zebra crossings be built on Harbour Road and there is only one! To access the toilets, which are not displayed, you must go into the front entrance 100 metres further away than the Underfleet ones then pass through the pay-out tills walk right along the store into the Costa area to find them, another 80 metre journey. Before Covid this was bad enough but wearing masks and negotiating young people in Costa is not something elderly people getting off the coaches want to do.
The Underfleet toilets there are very well used with disabled access, when event are held there in Thurley Harcourt Place, in fact, Saturday is a perfect example with the late night shopping/lights switch on and Christmas carnival which I have organised with the carnival committee. The parade starts there and with the desire of people to be entertained there will be hundreds there and they would not like to trek to the seafront if caught short.
Sadly, the public toilet review contained many flaws and a perfect example with the Chine toilets. Their closure was sold to the people of Seaton as upgrade of the premises with access to the toilets all year. Yes, the Hideaway Café does look nice but as you can expect it is not open all the time. There have never been a sign that explains that the toilets within are available to coastal walkers etc., in fact, those walking along the coastal path see the back of the café and the closed toilets. I walk past here most mornings and I hear from any people that you cannot use the café toilets unless you are a customer. No what councillors were told at the time.
Please make sure the Underfleet toilets are not closed because Seaton will not gain coach friendly status which is no needed for the local community and visitors alike.”