Toilets will open to clean up town's night-time image
TORQUAY'S night time economy will become a whole lot cleaner and more hygienic after an agreement was reached to open the public toilets on the harbourside.
Street Pastor Ros Ede has been campaigning for four years to keep the toilets near the marina open until the small hours.
It has become a familiar sight at weekends to see clubbers relieving themselves in shop doorways and against walls.
But after Ros made a personal appeal to councillors highlighting the damage it was doing to Torquay's reputation and Purple Flag status it has been agreed to allow the toilets to stay open on Fridays and Saturdays.
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After the announcement she told councillors: "Thank you so much. I am absolutely delighted. We'll now see Torquay getting a lot cleaner."
Public toilets are one of the criteria for the Purple Flag scheme, and until now Torbay Council said it could not afford to keep them open. But Ros, co-ordinator of more than 100 street pastors, told councillors they were willing to open and close the toilets and monitor them.
She said it was common to see young women relieving themselves on the harbour steps while young men opted for doorways, often in full view of other people.
"Surely we want a better image of Torbay than this?," she told councillors. "If the toilets were open the police would be in a position to fine those responsible for not using them."
She said businesses pay a great deal in rates, but were greeted every Monday morning with urine which they had to wash away themselves.
The stumbling block has been the cost of cleaning the toilets which has previously been put at £200 a day. Ros asked the council to renegotiate this contract with Tor2.
Cllr Dave Thomas said this had already been done.
"We have now in place an agreement between the council and Tor2 which is welcome and allows the Street Pastors to continue the very good work they have started.
"The 8pm cleaning will be moved to the next morning and consequently the toilets, with the help of the Street Pastors, will be open on Fridays and Saturdays.
"We are committed to the Purple Flag and the late night economy," he said.