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Plans revealed for Bridport’s pioneering loos project

Caroline Parkins in the redundant toilet block
Caroline Parkins in the redundant toilet block

Ladies and gents who want to see free public loos back in Bridport’s East Street car park are being urged to let planners know how strongly they feel.

Caroline Parkins, who paid more than £100,000 to save the old toilet block from developers, has submitted a planning application to create three dwellings on the site and newly built public toilets adjoining the car park.

Despite a public outcry, West Dorset District Council had put the toilets up for sale. Caroline, of Leakers Bakery, felt so strongly that she stepped in and bought the site in 2013.

With support from many local individuals, businesses and organisations, plans for the scheme  designed by Bridport architect Robert Wheelwright have now been lodged with the district council.

“It has never been my object to be a property developer,” she says.

“My object was, and remains, to rebuild the toilets so that they may be a community asset for the town of Bridport.

“We believe this may well be the first community toilet and hope it may act as a guide for future such developments.

“The East Street car park is the first place visitors from an easterly direction find when they arrive in the town. The nearest toilets are some way away either at the other end of town in the bus station or in another car park on the southern approach to the town.”

The planned new homes on King Street
The planned new homes on King Street

In order to finance the building of the toilets and provide funding for their future, it is proposed to build a one-bedroom house and two two-bedroom homes on the site.

The façade fronting King Street, next to the Lord Nelson pub, will echo the original three-storey terraced houses, which were destroyed by an enemy bomb in the Second World War.

It is hoped that the sales of the new houses will provide enough money to settle an endowment on the toilets to allow Bridport Town Council to run and maintain them.

Caroline has thanked everyone who has supported the community loos and hopes that both local people and visitors will write to West Dorset’s planning department in support of the scheme.

The full application can be found on www.dorsetforyou.com and the deadline for comments is 20 June.