RESIDENTS, traders and local councillors have united to call for a u-turn on a toilet closure in Poole.

Shutting the Jubilee Road public loos has been a “debacle” because there are few alternatives along the length of Ashley Road, says Cllr Brian Clements.

He has submitted a motion to the next full meeting of Borough of Poole on September 23, calling for the Community Toilet Scheme in the area to be overturned and the Jubilee Road loos refurbished and reopened.

“The February council was advised that it would not ‘go live’ until six premises were participating in the scheme but that has never been achieved. Traders have lost confidence and we risk damage to the area as a shopping centre due to adverse publicity,” he said.

Daphne Long, a former Poole councillor, has complained that alternative shop toilets are not wheelchair friendly and “failed at the first hurdle”, with the exception of Waitrose, which is not open 24 hours a day.

Four originally signed up to the scheme, however now only three remain, one of which is well outside the main shopping area.

Resident Jeff Williams said there were no toilets in the central area of Ashley Road or near the car parks. “And that, as we know locally, has led to many members of the public using alleyways, shrub areas and service areas.” He is calling for a modern pay-to-use block.

Branksome West ward member, Cllr Marion Le Poidevin said: “People are going in and asking to use toilets of shops that are not in the scheme. Many are feeling upset by it.”

Staff toilets were often in stock rooms, up or down stairs and often not suitable for public use, she said. “It works in Broadstone where they have five places, we have essentially got two.”

Liberal Democrat councillors have organised a petition which is now in several shops.

Councillor Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, said: “I believe the facilities being provided through the community toilet scheme offer a much better service to local people.

“The toilets available are fit for purpose and well maintained as well as being open later in the evening.

“There are no funds available to refurbish these toilets and savings were identified and approved at full council in December which has led us to this point. We are planning to move forward with the demolition of the deteriorating toilet block so any motion to council will need to be debated at the earliest opportunity.”