Public toilet which was given the axe could become cafe

The public toilets at Paradise Street, Landport, Portsmouth
The public toilets at Paradise Street, Landport, Portsmouth
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PLANS have been drawn up to turn another former public toilet which was axed as part of cuts last year into a cafe.

An application has been made to redevelop the loos on the corner of Paradise Street and Buckingham Street, near the Tesco store in Portsmouth city centre.

The business would also serve as a takeaway.

As reported, the toilets were one of 12 public loos axed by the former Lib Dem administration last year in a bid to save £200,000 from the budget.

The new Tory council has managed to reopen ones in Paulsgrove, Hilsea and Old Portsmouth but couldn’t save the city centre block as it was aware a bid had been put in to make use of it.

Only one objection has been received by the council for the cafe proposal from a resident who feels it should have been retained as a toilet block, as it was one of the most frequently-used loos in the city.

A council survey shows that an estimated 62,010 visitors used that facility within a period of six months.

This summer, another former toilet at South Parade Kiosk, near South Parade Pier, was converted to help form Southsea Beach Cafe.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment, admitted the closure of the city centre toilet was a ‘blow’ – but nothing could be done now to save it.

‘It’s in a city centre location and a cafe and takeaway is an appropriate use of the site,’ he said.

‘To lose the toilet is obviously a blow, but the closure programme was far advanced by the time we took over the council in June.

‘It’s clearly better to have a business bringing employment rather than keeping the building empty.

‘The council needs to make better use of its property portfolio.’

Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the council, brought the application to the committee’s attention after receiving two complaints from residents about the application, and wanted to ensure their voices were heard.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the Lib Dems, said people prefer the toilets found in Cascades Shopping Centre.

‘People have told me they are much better than the loo block by Tesco,’ he said. ‘They say the Cascades one is much cleaner and nicer. This would create more jobs, so that can only be a good thing.

‘People need jobs.’

A decision will be made by the committee when it meets from 2pm this Wednesday at Portsmouth Guildhall.