Disused beach toilets to become new business premises in £2m re-development

Torbay Weekly

Almost £2 million will be borrowed by Torbay Council to turn disused loos in Torquay and Paignton into new beachside businesses.

Following a decision by the council’s Cabinet, £1.25 million will be put into the redeveloping toilets at Corbyn Head and £717,000 on the disused Marine Drive toilets in Preston.

As well as rejuvenating the two locations, the council believes the new developments could create more than 40 new jobs.

The money, borrowed through the council’s Growth Fund, will be used to create new business premises in both locations, which will then be rented out.

It is hoped the money earned through 25-year leases will cover the costs of the redevelopment in the long term.

WeSup, a food and paddleboard business with operations in Torquay, Falmouth and Southampton, is expected to move into the new facilities at Corbyn Head.

Pierhead Cafes and Bars, which runs the Halulu cocktail bar in Teignmouth, are lined up to move into the Preston site.

The council will now begin drawing up final terms with the two companies.

Torbay Council’s deputy leader Councillor Darren Cowell said: “Both of these buildings have been redundant for some time and are now impacting negatively on the surrounding environment.

"By directly investing in these buildings and leasing them out, we are creating spaces for two locally established businesses to thrive.”

Councillor Swithin Long, cabinet member for economic regeneration, housing and tourism said: “The intended outcome of this investment is to create new quality business premises in prime locations that will not only generate new jobs but also provide residents and visitors with great new leisure and hospitality facilities.”

Councillor Dave Thomas asked whether everyone, not just customers of the new businesses, would be able to access the facilities in the redeveloped buildings 'without going cap in hand asking ‘please can my little boy use the toilet?’'

Council officers said it is 'absolutely the intention' that the toilets will be open to members of the public.

The details of how they will be accessed and what times they will be opened for will be worked out as part of the final negotiations with the tenants.

The council hopes to have planning applications for the redevelopment projects ready by the beginning of April.