Take two for second loos with a view

Torbay Weekly

A second loo-with-a-view is set to become a beachside business with some of the best vistas in the Bay - if not country.

A leisure company is lined up to transform the tatty and ugly toilet block at Marine Drive on Preston seafront in Paignton.

Loos just around the around the corner in Torquay and overlooking the Bay at Corbyn Head have already been earmarked for a similar regeneration project.

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

And now Pierhead Cafes and Bars are lined up to move into the Preston site.

Almost £2 million will be borrowed by Torbay Council to turn the disused loos into businesses.

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

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

Pierhead Cafes and Bars runs the Halulu cocktail bar in Teignmouth.

Its owners are also well-known for their popular and award-winning Victorian cocktail bar - Doctor Ink's Curiosities - at Exeter Quay.

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

Council 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.”

Cllr 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.”

Cllr 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.