Google streetview of the Port Royal toilets in Sidmouth

East Devon District Council (EDDC) respond to online comments made about changes to public toilet provision in the town.

In its capacity as landowner, the council is aware of concerns regarding the proposed reduction in the toilet cubicle offer on the eastern end of the esplanade at Port Royal as part of proposals for Rockfish restaurant. As part of the council’s Public Toilet Review approved in December 2021 the council considered the future public toilets’ requirement for Sidmouth. Extensive discussions took place with the Town Council and through a public consultation exercise.  The views expressed were taken account of and an agreement was reached on the location of improved future toilet provision, and the facilities which the council offered to others to operate.  The toilets at Port Royal were considered suitable for disposal to a third party on the basis that some public toilet provision be maintained at the site.  The council has agreed with Rockfish that the 2 new toilets proposed within their restaurant would both be fully accessible and provide baby changing facilities.

Whilst there would be a reduction in the number of the toilets provided at Port Royal, there will be a further 2 cubicles provided nearby as part of the council’s £200,000 investment to provide a Changing Places toilet facility which will be in the vicinity of the Ham car park.  Changing Places toilets provide an adult-sized changing bench, hoist, more space, and a peninsular toilet.  The Changing Places Consortium, along with the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity have been promoting the provision of these toilet facilities around the UK since 2006.  These 2 new cubicles by the Changing Places facility will be well situated for car park users, visitors to the Tourist Information Centre based within the swimming pool facility, and users of the Ham Play Park.   

This future investment in public toilets in Sidmouth is due to be delivered by Spring 2024 with further improvements to Connaught Gardens toilets and Market Place toilets delivered in Winter 2024.  Based on industry feedback some locations will see a reduction in numbers of cubicles to enable provision at all current locations whilst meeting our necessary budget reductions.  The new re-built toilets will be designed to meet modern hygiene standards, will be light and welcoming and will open up the surrounding areas to improve safety and accessibility.  More details on the Changing Places offer will follow when detailed designs are progressed later this year.