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Claims people are using town centre’s medieval alcoves as toilets as loos remain shut

PUBLISHED: 13:49 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:53 30 June 2020

The alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

The alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

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The struggle to find public toilets in a busy town centre is leading people to relieve themselves in the open air, it has been claimed.

The alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George RyanThe alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

Medieval alcoves, part of Great Yarmouth’s historic town wall, have become the choice for the well-hydrated when they arrive at toilet doors and find them shut, according to shopkeepers.

The toilets under Market Gates have been providing relief for shoppers for more than 40 years.

In common with all other borough council blocks in the town they were forced to close due to coronavirus, but have not reopened - leaving those needing to use them with a dilemma.

Rebecca Hampton, of the Linen Line in Market Gates, said she had lost count of the number of people wanting directions to a toilet.

The alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George RyanThe alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

She rounded on the borough council for not reopening the block, and said the smell had become disgusting.

The nearest toilets are at The Conge, but most people had no idea where that was, she added.

The borough council said updated signage would be put in place to direct people to the The Conge toilets, which they said were as close to the Market Place as those under Market Gates.

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman said he was aware of the issue and said more needed to be done to tell people they were shut before they got to the toilets.

He said he had been in discussion with the council about better signage and had the impression there were “no plans” to reopen them.

“We have been told additional signs are going up in the town to promote the use of toilets in The Conge.

“Most people are more aware of the toilets at Market Gates and the signs need to reflect this.

“While there are notices on the toilet doors we have asked for signs at either end of the access.

3/3  Toilet attendant Kevin Hunter cleans the Market Gates public toilet block.3/3 Toilet attendant Kevin Hunter cleans the Market Gates public toilet block.

“It’s about managing expectations,” he added.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “The closest open toilets to the Market Place are the recently refurbished ones at The Conge, which is the same distance from the Market Place as those under Market Gates.

“There will be updated signage on these toilet doors to help direct people to The Conge.

“The council are working to explore options for additional toilet facilities in the town centre.”

The alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George RyanThe alleyway underneath the Market Gates shopping centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

The spokesman added no decision had been made about whether the toilets would close permanently.


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