PHOTOS: Survey of Great Yarmouth toilets

CAUGHT short? Whether strolling along Great Yarmouth’s seafront on a fine summer’s day or making your way down Gorleston High Street with bags full of shopping, nature can call at any time.

And when that extra 20 minutes journey in the car home is just too long to wait, and the pub landlord is less than keen for you to use their amenities without buying something, there’s only one option – public toilets.

That’s why, after a year’s hiatus, The Mercury has decided once again to look into the state of the WCs in both towns, using its tried-and-trusted rating system – with a mark of one being well below bog-standard and five signifying a tip-top toilet stop.

The last time the survey was undertaken in 2009, a marked improvement was noticed on previous years, with the council’s facilities deemed to be more attractive for both holidaymakers and locals to use than before.

And this time around standards were generally kept high, with the Market Gates toilets emerging flushed with success in the number 1 spot and the dismal loos on Caister Road claiming the wooden spoon.

Starting along Yarmouth’s well-served seafront, while both the loos near the Jetty and Marina Centre looked slightly worse for wear, they were well maintained.

However, an unpleasant smell in the Marina Centre women’s toilets were its letdown.

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Closer to the centre of town, and with most loos in the area well signposted, the winner was the one that needed a point in the right direction most – tucked away as it is in a spot that could be intimidating when darkness falls.

Head inside however, and the men’s facilities in Market Gates site positively gleamed.

Very well lit, and with plenty of cubicles, there seemed no danger of running out of loo roll either.

Inhabiting the same smell-free airspace were the toilets on The Conge, which though less flashy, were tidy and relatively pleasant, with the women’s facilities scoring particularly impressively.

Compare this to the Caister Road toilets. Agreed on by both reviewers to be the worst spot of the lot, blocked toilets and poor lighting combined with a general sense of griminess, as well as cigarette butts in the urinal – it was a place in which a penny would be too much to spend.

Heading over Haven Bridge and into Gorleston, and the facilities near the library offered up a marked gender divide.

Though dimly lit, the men’s toilets were useable enough, while in the ladies it was a different story – blocked and unflushed toilets competed with mysterious stains on the wall to make the experience a dubious one.

However, like nearly all toilets reviewed, there was not a spot of graffiti, testament to either the restraint of the public and/or the hard work of those who maintained the buildings.

And it was finally to the WCs by The Pier Hotel on Gorleston beach, which has a handy tap for washing feet outside, and which was well maintained and remained pleasantly odour-free.

However, whether the presence of a large council wastebin inside is a good or a bad thing is up for debate.

n On the day of the survey, the toilets on North Drive were closed for building work.