HALF a million pounds will be spent on improving public toilet provision in Poole.

Members of the new Unity Alliance made the £493,000 project to reopen two blocks, and refurbish six more, its priority – approving funding at its first meeting on Wednesday.

The decision was made despite calls from Conservative councillors that not enough evidence had been provided to justify the spending.

First revealed last week, the project will see public toilets at Poole Quay and Lake Pier reopened while six blocks – Poole Park West Gate, The Haven, Hamworthy Park, Baiter, Whitecliff and The Watch Station – will be refurbished.

Funding would be taken from a £600,000 underspend by Poole council last year.

BCP Council leader Vikki Slade (Lib Dem, Broadstone) said the move was part of its policy of levelling council tax and service provision across the three towns at the same time.

“As part of our commitment to harmonising council tax we also promised to harmonise services,” she said at the meeting on Wednesday.

“What we need to do is establish that there is an approach around how we spend the money that’s been set aside for this and we need to make sure we spend it well.”

Cabinet member for finance, Cllr David Brown (Lib Dem, Bearwood and Merley) said it was about bringing “fairness” to people in all three towns.

However, Conservative councillors had urged the cabinet members to delay a final decision until evidence outlining why the toilets project should be prioritised had been provided.

Cllr Nicola Greene (Con, Westbourne and West Cliff) said: “I’m not able to understand how something is being prioritised when there is a lack of evidence.

“If you don’t have that evidence then I’m very concerned that you are committing half a million pounds to it.”

Despite this, and a recommendation from members of the council overview and scrutiny committee on Monday that a decision be delayed until figures have been provided, the cabinet unanimously approved allocating the funding.

Cllr Mark Howell, (Poole People, Poole Town) said that Poole had “suffered” as a result of the closure of many of its public toilets.