Prostitution and drug use in Weston's toilets prompts review
PUBLISHED: 11:04 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 31 May 2018
A rise in drug use and evidence of prostitution in Weston-super-Mare's public toilets has prompted calls for a review of the conveniences.
Illegal drug use, antisocial behaviour, vandalism and also one incident of prostitution have been reported at the facilities.
Grove Park and Locking Road have been most affected by the antisocial behaviour.
In a report to the Weston Town Council’s community services committee, town clerk Malcolm Nicholson revealed problems have worsened in recent months.
He said: “The toilets are a valuable public facility especially for elderly and disabled people and also provide baby changing facilities.
“However, there have been increasingly serious problems of antisocial behaviour and vandalism, largely linked to illegal drug users.
“We do have a two-hour emergency call-out system with both cleaning and maintenance contractors and generally the mess is cleaned up very quickly, but the frequency of problems seem to have worsened last winter, particularly at Grove Park and Locking Road toilets.”
Weston Town Council took over six sets of public toilets in 2013 to save them from closure as North Somerset Council withdrew its funding to save £400,000 per year.
The council received a £97,000 grant from the authority in return for running the toilets in Grove Park, Clarence Park, Ashcombe Park, Locking Road Car Park, The Maltings in Worle and Links Road in Uphill and it has spent £400,000 on the facilities since it took them on.
In the report, Mr Nicholson said the income generated from the loos is decreasing each year and suggested it could be due to antisocial behaviour.
He said if this is to blame ‘a valuable and important public service is being damaged by increasing crime and antisocial behaviour’.
Grove Park toilets were previously manned by staff and Cllr Mark Canniford suggested this could be a possible solution.
He said: “At the moment we are fighting a losing battle with an idea which was poor and unless we come up with something better we are not going to get rid of the antisocial behaviour.”
MORE: CCTV and alarms for Weston’s public toilets?
In the 2015-2016 financial year, Weston Town Council spent £70,464 on the public toilets – £23,329 on maintenance and repairs, £30,338 on cleaning and £16,797 on staff.
The committee agreed to a review of the facilities.