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Council forced to close two toilets for public safety

Two public toilets in Gosport town centre have had to be closed for safety reasons after repeated vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The Gosport Borough Council loos near the ferry terminal, and at Jamaica Place, have been closed until further notice. Daily misuse has meant it is impossible to keep them clean and safe.

The decision was made after reports of people taking and dealing drugs, sleeping in cubicles and leaving behind needles, vomit, blood and excrement.

The council toilets in Ordnance Road remain open.

In the longer term, the council is considering action to deal with anti-social behaviour in the town. It is looking at introducing a public spaces protection order banning behaviour causing harassment or distress to the public, including alcohol and drug use and aggressive begging.

The ban would be enforced by fines or prosecution in court if necessary.

The council's contract cleaners visit the toilets five times a day. In many cases doors have been blocked, making it impossible for them to even enter. On other occasions they've been confronted and verbally abused.

Cllr Graham Burgess, Chairman of the council's Community Board, said: "We're very sorry to have to close these toilets, and we apologise for the inconvenience it will cause, but we've been left with no choice.

"It's about protecting our residents, our visitors and the cleaning staff, and keeping them safe. Imagine someone out shopping with their small grandchild, who pops into a loo. There's a real risk of the child picking up a needle or touching something equally nasty and hazardous.

"Our cleaners have been doing everything they can, but sometimes they can't even get into cubicles.

"The closure will enable us to concentrate resources on the Ordnance Road loos and do our very best to keep them in order.

"Gosport has a good record on offering accommodation and support if people are on the streets. We'll continue to offer this help.

"Hand in hand with that, we also need to look at tackling behaviour which upsets and frightens ordinary people. That's why we're considering introducing a protection order."

A protection order can only be introduced after a public consultation period. 

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