Antisocial behaviour of ‘yobs and criminals’ sees park’s toilets closed

PUBLISHED: 13:45 10 August 2018

Clarence Park public toilet.

Clarence Park public toilet.

Archant

‘Persistent antisocial behaviour’ and discoveries of blood and needles have forced the closure of a toilet block in a Weston-super-Mare park.

Weston Town Council has ‘reluctantly’ imposed a temporary closure of the toilets in Clarence Park following high levels of drug taking and reports of users intimidating people.

The closure began at the weekend and the authority hopes it will snuff out antisocial behaviour, but concerns have been raised ‘yobs’ and ‘criminals’ are ruining things for law-abiding people.

Town council clerk Malcolm Nicholson said: “We have recently had reports of persistent antisocial behaviour by drug users at Clarence Park public toilet.

“There have been cases of blood and needles left in the toilet or even people in the toilet who are intimidating to other users, so we have reluctantly taken the management decision to temporarily close the toilet.

“In the meantime we are in contact with the police about antisocial behaviour in the town.”

Public toilets have been a hot topic on the agendas of the town council of late, with calls for a review in May after evidence of prostitution and drug taking was found at conveniences.

Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale told the Mercury it is ‘hugely disappointing the police have not been able to address this issue’.

He said: “Public toilets are important to residents and visitors and the town council has recently taken the lead in efforts to increase numbers.

“This latest development is certainly a backwards step; however the protection of those who use these facilities must be a priority.”

Fellow councillor Robert Payne said: “Decisions on what services are provided should be made based on what’s best for the town, not on the activities of criminals.

“It’s allowing the yobs to ruin things for the law-abiding.

“There are no alternative public loos nearby; not great for any users of the park, especially the café.”

Mr Nicholson believes a closure of the toilet is the best way to deter antisocial behaviour.

He added: “We recognise, and are sorry, this will cause inconvenience to members of the public but a temporary closure has worked in the past to reduce problems of antisocial behaviour.

“The closure is not permanent and we will reopen it when we believe it is safe to do so.”

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