Looe beachgoers 'going to the toilet in sand' after public loo closure

210923 Looe loo Talland Bay BPM Media
Talland Bay near Looe in Cornwall Credit: BPM Media

Beachgoers in Looe are reportedly urinating in the sand following the closure of a set of public toilets.

The public toilets at Talland Bay, owned by Cornwall Council, have been closed since 2016 when the parish council agreed to take on running the toilets.

Although there is an agreement said to be in place to hand them over to the parish council once work to bring them up to standard is complete - the work hasn't been carried out and the transfer has yet to be completed.

Since the closure seven years ago, Cornwall Council funded temporary facilities, but this funding has been withdrawn and a local beach café was left to pay the £7,000 running costs for the temporary toilets.

Cornwall Council has put the delay in resolving the toilet issue at the bay down to finances.

Local business owners say visitors to Talland Bay are also defecating in the sea.

Jack Ashby-Wright, general manager at Talland Bay Hotel said: "Between Looe and Polperro there are no public toilets for tourists, local people or local businesses to use.

"Cornwall Council has done nothing to assist in completing a started project which now exceeds five years.

"As of 2023, Cornwall Council ceased funding for temporary facilities, resulting in a local business (Talland Bay Beach Café) paying out more than £7,000, just for the summer season which excludes empties, just to have the basic need of popping to the toilet.

"The evidence is huge. No one is trying to get this project sorted, meanwhile, we have people urinating and defecating on the beach, next to the café and in the sea."

Mr Ashby-Wright said that local businesses have come together to try and force the matter.

Issues that need addressing before the toilets reopen are a new septic tank, new windows, new doors and locks, cubicle refits and waste plans.

This work was agreed to be carried out by Cormac prior to formal devolution to the parish council back in 2016.

Mr Ashby-Wright added: "Cornwall Council and the local parish council have an agreement in place however, the toilets are not in working order and the legal issues of the waste still have to be sorted.

"Last year Cornwall Council agreed to pay for portaloos to be installed adjacent to the beach café.

"This year, Cornwall Council ceased funding and the beach café has had to pay more than £7,000 for the temporary facilities to be in place.

"This has come straight out of their bottom line. As you will know, it's tough for business at the moment and even harder when the local council ignores a problem.

"When the café closes, they lock the temporary facilities and the public are urinating and defecating next to their establishment, on the ground, behind the portaloo and on the beach.

"If I were to take control of the problem, legally, the project could be started and finished in two weeks."

A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: "We are continuing to seek a solution to resolve the issue at Talland Bay.

"However, as with all local authorities, pressures on budgets means we have to prioritise funding on the services we are required by law to provide."