For your convenience
VOLUNTEERS and business owners at Winterton have joined forces to keep a vital village facility open in the future.
The public toilets opposite the Dunes Cafe, which are used by thousands of visitors to the beach every year, were put under threat of closure in January by Great Yarmouth Borough Council as it looked for ways to cut £140,000 from its budget.
Efforts to keep the Winterton beach toilets open next year have centred on the Dunes Cafe, beach car park and Coastwatch volunteers based close by.
They have taken over responsibility for running the block so it can be used by winter visitors to the village, including the large numbers of dog walkers and people heading to see the seal colony at Horsey.
Talks over the long term future are continuing, but Coastwatch volunteer Alan McMurchie said: “There was a stage where the toilets were closing. Fortunately we were able to intervene and negotiate a change of heart.
“At this moment in time it is working and we have had a lot of feedback from the public, who take the trouble to come and say: ‘Thanks very much for what you’re doing.’”
The organisation, which receives no grants or subsidies, operates the car park on week days during the winter and depends for survival on the revenue it generates. Its members are also helping to look after the loos.
A constant stream of people use the loos through the day and fears have been voiced that if they close the resulting impact on visitor numbers will damage other businesses in the village.
Members of the borough council’s cabinet voted to use £32,000 cut from the toilets budget to bail out the struggling St George’s Theatre in town. But they were over-ruled by the full council in December. The theatre is to be handed £40,000 from reserves instead.
A spokesman for the authority said funds were earmarked to keep open six toilet blocks, including the one at Winterton, during the 2015 season while there were discussions to find long term solutions.
The Dunes Cafe opened and cleaned the beach toilets during the summer and had agreed to take on full responsibility for running the block, as well as costs, this winter.
The arrangement was confirmed in February 2016 when the authority set its budget for the year.