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A 'resounding' plea to keep toilets at Barton beach

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The toilets at Barton beach were closed last March
The toilets at Barton beach were closed last March

RESIDENTS have made a “resounding” call to save a public toilet block at Barton beach threatened with removal.

The strong feeling was claimed from a straw poll conducted by New Milton Residents’ Association, its chair Alan Watson told an online meeting of the town council’s amenities committee.

As reported in the A&T, the New Forest District Council-run seafront conveniences could be demolished at a cost of £30,000 as the 10-year-old prefab block has reached the “end of its life span”.

Angry beach goers have hit back, saying the disabled, elderly and very young might struggle to reach the alternative toilets at the top of the cliff in time.

Beach hut owners have also reported a surge in the amount of human waste dumped there while the facility has been closed throughout the pandemic.

Mr Watson said only 1.9% of the 450 people who responded to the poll were not against the block’s permanent removal.

Meanwhile, 152 of those opposed to it had given further detailed descriptions of the issues they had faced due to the toilets being shut – some “exceptionally detailed”, according to Mr Watson.

“There is a resounding ‘Please do not demolish them, rebuild them’,” he concluded.

Barton ward councillors Keith Craze and Alan O’Sullivan have already voiced their support for the fight to keep the toilets.

Cllr Steve Clarke argued the town council’s overall view on the issue should also be gauged and passed on to NFDC even though it is not officially a town council matter.

“I just think it’s a really big community issue – this is about our town,” he said. “We ought to, on this occasion, take a position.”

Cllr David Hawkins added: “If the residents want to retain these toilets I will side with them because I think it’s our job to support our residents in what they want.”

An online petition against the block’s removal at bit.ly/3sEanLC had collected 2,570 signatures towards a 5,000 target by Tuesday.

Amenities chair Cllr Geoffrey Blunden pledged the petition would be passed on to NFDC, along with all comments from residents.

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