There are fears Boston has been ‘loo-sing out’ on visitor numbers – and a boost to the town’s tourist economy – due to the lack of public toilets.
Concerns have been expressed by some connected to local tourism that visitors have not stayed in the town for as long as before due to difficulties of finding somewhere convenient and clean to relieve themselves.
But now the council is investing £95,000 on the three town centre public toilets – which it is hoped will win people back.
Ex-borough councillor Ernie Napier, who volunteers to promote the town by greeting visitors as they arrive at the bus station, said: “Most coach visitors to the town are at the older end of the age spectrum and having adequate toilet facilities available to them is absolutely essential.” Mr Napier, who was in charge of tourism for the council until 2007, said large numbers of passengers often arrive at the same time needing use of toilets - but the Lincoln Lane site only has two cubicles for women, and one for men.
The Lincoln Lane toilets will close for refurbishment from May 6-31, but the disabled toilet will remain open. The Wide Bargate toilets are to re-open on May 3.
Mr Napier said: “The Lincoln Lane toilets are often in a shocking state. It’s all very well refurbishing them, but we also need more toilets in town.”
Peter Kordula, a driver for Barnes coaches which brings visitors to the town from all over the UK, said he frequently gets complaints from passengers about the Lincoln Lane toilets: “They’re absolutely dreadful. They stink,” he said. “Boston needs more toilets and more signage, especially to help the elderly and those with less mobility.”
Mr Kordula claims that due to the ‘poor facilities’ coach parties now spend less time in Boston, opting for a shorter stay before going on to Spalding. But he stressed it was just an issue of facilities, not attractions, that put people off Boston.
He also said he believes drivers should be asked for their input on the town as they are often instrumental in choosing where to stop off with coach parties.
The Standard previously highlighted concerns of market traders since the loss of the Fish Hill public loos.
The £95,000 investment works take in the Lincoln Lane, Wide Bargate and Central Park toilets.
Coun Derek Richmond, town centre portfolio holder, said: “The toilets in the reception at the Municipal Buildings will be available for the public to use during the refurbishment works.”
lSee inside for a focus on retail with a council leader column on page seven and report on pages 20 and 21.