MORE than 3,000 people have signed a petition to stop public toilets at Calshot beach being demolished, claiming it will lead to more mess at the popular beauty spot.
Richard Hadden, who launched the online campaign, said the beach has become blighted with human waste after the public conveniences were closed by New Forest District Council due to the pandemic.
They are now being considered for closure alongside the block at Barton beach which has sparked its own petition with more than 1,000 names, as reported in the A&T. An NFDC report has described them both as “no longer viable to retain”.
Mr Hadden said the proposed demolition was “despite the public health issues seen post-July 2020 when Calshot beach became so busy with visitors who were unable to holiday overseas”.
He added: “It is not clear just what has happened in the last 12 months while it has been closed to make it no longer viable.”
The plans to demolish the toilets were approved for consideration by NFDC’s ruling Conservative cabinet.
A task group of councillors is now looking at whether the blocks should be demolished before reporting to the full council. A public consultation would have to be held if NFDC pressed ahead.
Cllr David Harrison, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the council, said: “I personally think that it makes no sense to close it. Calshot is a very popular venue, especially during the summer months.
“You would have thought that the Conservatives running the district council might have considered this a cut too far.
“It strikes me that there is an obligation on their part to keep toilets open. They rake in enormous sums of money from car parking charges.
“It isn’t unreasonable to give people back something by way of basic facilities like this.”
The council have said that people visiting Calshot can use the public conveniences at Hillhead car park, which are 660 metres from the Slipway car park.
But many angry residents say that people who are very young, elderly or disabled will struggle to use the beach at all if they have make their way to the Hillhead toilets.
One said: “So many folks have urgency issues due to bladder conditions and becoming elderly.
“Public health, dignity and amenity are crucial for the local environment to be kept as a pleasant amenity. It is an offence for folk to urinate or defecate in public but sometimes needs must.”
A spokesperson for NFDC said a task group of councillors will be carrying out a “full evaluation” of the situations at Calshot and Barton at a meeting at the beginning of March.