Torbay baffled as portable toilets cost £ 100 a day rockets

Toilet problems became Torbay’s Waterloo (or Porta-Loo) this summer – with the tourism boom and public resistance to paying 30 pence to pee in a new-style Healthmatic toilet.

Many old-fashioned toilet blocks on the English Riviera have been closed over the years and the Council has spent around £ 2million to upgrade public toilets and installed new Healthmatic modular toilet blocks across the bay as part a continuous improvement program.

The council had hoped to install more portable toilets during the busier weeks of the summer. But during a fact-finding mission this week, advisers learned that the cost of renting portable toilets had risen from £ 13 a day to £ 100 due to a nationwide shortage.

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It comes after many new modular toilets have been vandalized – often by people blocking bricks and stones to keep doors open so the next user doesn’t have to pay. The toilets with tourniquets have been damaged by people climbing on them.

Because people bypass payment, the automated system does not send messages to say they need to be cleaned.

Some locals say the toilets drop the image of the bay – one saying it was so bad in Breakwater Beach, Brixham that he threw up when he saw and smelled the toilet.

This week, counselors took a tour of the bay to see the Healthmatic toilet system in action – and meet the staff who have been abused, cursed, and spat while trying to keep the toilets clean.

Councilor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture and met with local Councilors and Healthmatic staff, including frontline cleaning staff and management, as well as Neil Coish, Chief from the Parks and Green Infrastructure Department for SWISCo, a Torbay Council-owned company, for an update on what is happening with the Bay’s public toilets.

Healthmatic maintains the toilets on behalf of the Council. Torbay Council opened additional restrooms this summer, including newly renovated restrooms in Preston South (Redcliff) and temporary restrooms in popular areas such as Vaughan Parade and Broadsands.

To support the funding of ongoing maintenance work and an increase in the cleaning regime, a 30 pence royalty was introduced a few years ago.

The toilets they visited were the new purpose-built blocks at Goodrington Central and Preston Central, as well as the old renovated Preston South (Redcliff) toilet block which was opened at the start of the summer school vacation to provide additional capacity, after Council agreed to invest an additional £ 60,000 this summer.

Despite this, there have been persistent issues of staff abuse and vandalism, including graffiti, stones blocking doors, damage to shutters and doors.

Councilor Morey said: “It was good to see the improvements that have been made to the local toilets and to talk to frontline staff about the kind of things they face on a daily basis.



It is goods – not the coronavirus – which is becoming Devon’s hottest topic, now the terrible pandemic is brewing towards its conclusion.

As city dwellers head to the glorious Southwest to vacation – and live – in droves, there are clearly clear winners and losers.

Are there too many second homes? Are landlords taking advantage of a stay boom and prioritizing AirBnb customers over permanent tenants? Is Devon in the grip of a housing crisis?

These are questions we will be asking in the content challenge as part of the campaign. Prices outside Devon.

But it will never be that gloomy and pessimistic.

We’ve rounded up homes under £ 150,000 in the county that are perfect for first-time buyers and we’ll have regular updates on new build developments with affordable homes – and there will be more positive content like that here to come.

We highlight the ups and downs of the Devon property boom. Find our content here and sign up for our real estate newsletter here.

“Summer has traditionally been a busy time for Torbay, but this year has been even busier than ever, so we’ve done everything we can to help people enjoy the summer.

“Bigger bins, more toilet capacity, more regular cleaning and longer opening hours and better video surveillance, and we also recently launched a campaign on our social media and other channels to encourage people report problems when they find them with, for example, overflowing garbage cans, toilet problems, fly spills and other local problems.

“But again, I would also like to reiterate our call to treat staff who work hard to clean and maintain our public washrooms with respect, as we are aware of a number of incidents of staff abuse.”

Cllr Andrew Barrand said: “It’s been an interesting day. The guys on the pitch do a hard job and we support the staff wholeheartedly. They are cursed and spat on – it’s amazing what they have to put up with.

“The toilets are damaged by people trying to avoid paying 30 pence – bricks and stones are stuck in the doors to keep them open.

“You can see muddy footsteps where people jumped over the turnstiles.

“Additionally, the council had planned to bring extra portable toilets to cope with the busier times of the summer season and this was not possible – we were told the price was around £ 13 per day – and that has now grown to £ 100 because all portable toilet companies went bankrupt during the lockdown. “

Opposition adviser Mr Barrand said: “I accept that this is a valid reason – but I think the problem should have been identified earlier.”

If you see a problem with a Torbay public toilet, report it by calling 01249 823143 or sending an email to [email protected]

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