COUNCIL workers have been allowed to carry on using a public toilet that was shut to residents more than a year ago.
Employees who maintain council properties in Hilsea have used the loos near the lido since its official closure last May – but families have had to go elsewhere.
The next nearest facilities are in Copnor or North End.
Under the previous Lib-Dem administration, the Hilsea toilets and 11 others in the city were shut in a bid to save £200,000.
The council says its ‘green and clean’ team have carried on using the Hilsea site while waiting to see if plans to build them new rest facilities, which would include their own toilets, go ahead.
The proposal, put forward by the Lib Dems while in power, are up in the air while the new Conservative administration decides what to do about the city’s loos.
But city leaders have blasted the decision to put the interests of workers before everyday people.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy council leader, said: ‘It doesn’t feel right that toilets have been kept open for council staff, and the Lib Dems should have thought more about this before shutting them.
Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, said: ‘That seems bizarre that the council should close a public toilet to the public, and tell them they can no longer afford to run it, but then allow council employees to use it. It shows a lack of transparency and openness that we had under the previous administration.’
Part of the facilities are also being used as storage by the council.
The cost of keeping the Hilsea loos open is £2,991, which has come from the council’s housing revenue account – which is separate from its main budget and funded by council tenants.
‘The workers using the loos have been responsible for cleaning them.
Cllr Hugh Mason, who was Lib-Dem deputy council leader when toilets were closed, said: ‘We had to save a large amount of money and we had to do a lot of things that were unpopular to save money. We had a responsibility to our workers to make sure that they were able to clean themselves up after doing dirty jobs.’