Yesterday (Monday 20 February 2017) a meeting was held –known as a ‘Call-In’ at the Civic Centre. It was in response to proposed closure of an additional eight public toilets throughout the borough. I was granted permission to speak to a committee of councillors-5 of whom had a final vote on this proposal. I spoke against closure of Baiter Park toilets and was ably supported by Eunice Marsden who also spoke against closure–an eloquent speaker.
At the end of the meeting a vote was taken -2 opposing closure and 3 supporting it. So, now, Baiter Park toilets will be ‘mothballed.’ However:
- There are NO adjacent toilet facilities for visitors –the nearest ones will be Whitecliff-15+ minutes’ walk away
- No account was taken of the medical needs of disabled people –currently there are disabled toilets at Baiter Park
- Visitors who have travelled far to visit the area will have no idea where toilets are located
- Visitors to the newly-planted Marie Curie Field of Hope at Baiter park will have no idea where to visit a toilet, despite many of them travelling great distances and dealing with sensitive issues
- No account taken of sailors who pay £13.50 to park at Harbourside 1 car park and spend long hours at sea, who would naturally wish to use toilets on return to land
- There are 3 public car parks at Baiter but now no toilet facilities
- The councillors impressed there is a Community Toilet scheme but the nearest one is along Poole Quay. How will that satisfy the needs of dog walkers who will probably not be allowed to use toilets whilst accompanied by their canine(s)?
- No account was taken of groups of visitors to Baiter, including The Sunshine Variety Club, Lords Taverner (both catering for severely disabled people) and also large school parties –upwards of 60-100 pupils
- What about delivery van personnel, postmen/women, taxi drivers who cannot park to use public toilets elsewhere?
- Baiter Park toilets have a heavy ‘footfall’ yet NO survey has been undertaken to determine how many people use these facilities. I did a sample survey -39 in a 30 minute period+ 4 to use disabled toilets.
- It is interesting that ALL the beach toilets along the promenade at Canford Cliffs will remain open, despite the one adjacent to the car park at Branksome Chine being only 20m away from restaurant toilets which visitors use –and at a cost of over £30000 to remain open –Baiter costs are £19 000
- We want to encourage visitors to this beautiful area but is closure of toilets the way to do this?
- One of the saddest aspects of this ‘fiasco’ yesterday was that NO account was taken of needs of disabled people
- Just to rub salt into wounds- I requested information of the number of designated toilet areas in the Civic Centre…wait for it – 20! Yes, 20- and most recently refurbished-for 580 employees –a ratio of 1:29. Removal of Baiter Park toilets will ensure a ratio of 0:1000s
- Finally, two of the five councillors represent our wards- Cllrs Challinor (Parkstone) and Garner-Watts (Poole Town –that includes Baiter). For your information BOTH voted for closure. When an amendment was made to close the remaining 7 and omit Baiter from closure as some of the councillors felt uncomfortable about the situation of Baiter, Cllrs Challinor and Garner-Watts voted AGAINST this proposal
- …so now we have closure of Baiter Park toilets