Extra toilets opened as council plea for staff to be treated with respect

Outside the Preston South toilets are Stuart from Healthmatic, James from SWISCo, with Cllrs Mike Morey and Christine Carter

Outside the Preston South toilets are Stuart from Healthmatic, James from SWISCo, Councillor Mike Morey and Councillor Christine Carter - Credit: Torbay Council

Extra toilets were opened in Torbay in time for the school summer holidays – but Torbay Council is once again pleading to please treat the staff with respect.

Following a refurbishment and upgrade, the toilet block at Preston South (Redcliffe) reopened ahead of schedule on Saturday, July 24.

This will provide an additional seven toilets at Preston, bringing the total of available public toilets in the area to 11.

But Torbay Council is aware of ongoing issues with verbal abuse towards Healthmatic staff who maintain the toilets, and vandalism at a range of sites across the Bay, and are asking users to be kind.

The early reopening follows a recent announcement that the council would be investing an additional £60,000 on public toilets this summer to increase capacity.

This was on top of the £1.9m already being invested in new toilets across Torbay.

As well as the Preston South toilets, there will be additional portable toilets at both Broadsands and Vaughan Parade over the summer months - the date for these to be delivered is to be confirmed.

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The council is also buying ten more portable toilets that can be used at sites across the Bay as and when required.

There will also be more regular cleaning, additional security and longer opening hours at toilets across the Bay.

As with all public toilets in Torbay, there will be a 30p charge for the Preston South toilets to ensure they are well maintained and kept in a clean and safe condition.

For the first few days though there will be no charge on the Preston South toilets as there is still some outstanding work required to install paddle gates and some electrical works.

Steve Darling, leader of Torbay Council, said: “This is fantastic news that the Preston South toilets will be opening ahead of schedule and in time for the school holidays.

"We have listened to the local community and recognised that in some areas more toilets are needed, particularly over this summer period when we are anticipating an increase in visitors due to more people holidaying in the UK.

“However, once again I am sad to report that the Healthmatic staff who clean and maintain the toilets, are being subjected to abuse, and that toilets across the Bay are still being vandalised.

"We are also getting reports that other frontline staff working in our parks and open spaces and highways are being abused.

"We will not tolerate abuse of any of our staff or damage to toilets and we have CCTV cameras so we will take action against anyone who is caught behaving in this way.”

Darren Cowell, deputy leader of the council, said: “We know this summer will be even busier than usual due to the unique circumstances and ongoing travel restrictions due to Covid, so we wanted to increase toilet capacity across Torbay.

"We will also have longer opening hours and more regular cleaning, including cleaners based permanently at busier sites such as Broadsands and Preston.

“But, of course, the toilets are only ever as clean as the last user, so I would once again urge people to please leave the toilets as they would wish to find them.”

The Preston South toilets opened on Saturday though they will need to close temporarily for two days in the near future to enable the installation of the paddle gates and electrical works to be completed.