Beachgoers leaving human excrement close to homes and beach huts
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Reports of beachgoers leaving human faeces on the Essex seafront have led to demands for more public toilets to be opened.
Following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, groups of up to six people can now meet at two metres apart and travel to the coast to enjoy a day at the beach.
However many seaside attractions remain closed and only 12 of the district’s 100 public toilets are open, which has led to cases of people defecating in public.
Frinton Beach Hut Association chairman, Peter Dias, said beach huts in his town had been affected and one person had reported finding a piece of excrement on the grate next to a public water tap.
“I think this kind of behaviour is absolutely disgusting,” he said.
“One day last week the number of cars parked on the seafront made it look like a bank holiday. The council has done what it can to supply public conveniences.
“I’m sure its a very difficult position to be in when you need the toilet but that is not something pleasant for beach hut owners to find.
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“People should be able to control themselves and those visiting have to make their arrangements.”
He added: “There are 100 public toilets in Tendring and I am told that keeping them all clean and open would take two members of staff at each toilet in full PPE, cleaning for 12 hours. That’s not feasible.”
Elsewhere, homeowners in Walton-on-the-Naze discovered the land around their homes has been used as an emergency toilet.
One councillor has received reports of human excrement in Old Hall Lane, close to the Naze Nature Reserve run by Essex Wildlife Trust.
The entire Naze visitor centre, including its toilets, is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic until the end of June.
District councillor Delyth Miles says she has argued for more public toilets in the town years before the Covid-19 outbreak, is liaising with the council about the fouling and apologised to affected residents.
“I’m appalled and I cannot apologise enough to the residents who have been affected,” she said.
“The lockdown has been eased by the government, so we have opened our car parks and that sends a message that we are open for visitors.
“No one here should have to put up with this disgusting behaviour.”
A council spokesman said the authority had reopened some public toilets to support the relaxation of lockdown rules and the subsequent increase of visitors to its seafronts.
“Twelve of our toilets in seafront locations have been reopened on a limited basis to cater for demand,” he added.
“We are not reopening all of our toilets at this time due to the safety measures required under our Covid-19 risk assessments, and therefore focusing on providing facilities in the most appropriate locations.
“This is under regular review, and we would like to open more of the toilets, but first and foremost comes the safety of our staff and the public when using the amenities.
“We have been putting out strong messaging advising people to check before they travel which facilities are open, and warning them about limited availability.”
Beach hut associations in Dovercourt and Clacton said they had received no reports of members of the public fouling on the beaches.