Renewed call for action over Whitehead public toilets

The former public toilet block at Chester Avenue, Whitehead.  INCT 43-725-CON Picture courtesy of Google
The former public toilet block at Chester Avenue, Whitehead. INCT 43-725-CON Picture courtesy of Google

Whitehead is urgently in need of a public toilet if it is to be taken seriously as a tourist destination, it has been suggested.

The seaside village has not had a such a amenity since the old toilet block on Chester Avenue was demolished a number of years ago.

Members of the local community have called on Mid and East Antrim Council to progress plans started under the legacy Carrick Council for a new facility.

Speaking to the Times last week, Whitehead resident Maria Jones said the lack of toilets was a particular problem for young children.

“I’m a registered child-minder and it’s difficult to even take the kids to the park in case they need the toilet quickly,” she added. “I have to ask to use the toilets at [Castleview] Pavilion.

“This is something I raised with the old council but nothing has been done about it.

“It’s ridiculous that Whitehead has had to wait this long. How are we supposed to promote the area to tourists when there isn’t even a public toilet for them to use?”

The issue was one that was raised repeatedly on the doorsteps during the last local government elections, according to MEA councillor, Mark McKinty. “It was probably the primary concern of Whitehead people during canvassing,” he added.

“I think things have been moving slowly which is regrettable, although the former council left no plans and no funding. However, at various levels the officers have indicated it is a project that will and is going ahead.

“Whitehead people won’t be cut short as I have raised and continue to monitor progress on this with council officers. Progress is happening slowly, and I appreciate this cannot be seen, but I am hopeful visual progress will become apparent in the not-too-distant future.”

Responding to a query from the Carrick Times, a MEA spokesperson said the local authority plans to replace the demolished Chester Avenue toilet block “as soon as possible”.

And while the council does own Castleview Pavilion, there are no plans to make the facilities there available for public use.

In the interim, there is a “public convenience” at the beginning of the Blackhead Path, the spokesperson added. “[This is] around a six-minute walk from the site of the former facility.”