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Toilets reopened

Two public toilets in Gosport, closed because of anti-social behaviour, have been reopened.

The council loos near the ferry terminal, and at Jamaica Place, had been closed since August.

The ferry terminal facilities will initially be open from 7am to 7pm. We hope to reintroduce full 24-hour opening soon. The Jamaica Place toilets will have normal winter opening hours: 7am to 5pm.

Both have been deep-cleaned and have had their "sharps" bins, designed to safely hold needles and other sharp objects, replaced. The new bins are more secure and have been placed higher up to reduce misuse.

The toilets will be cleaned five times a day by our contractors.

Agencies including the council, police and substance misuse services will continue to work together to ensure the facilities are well-maintained and that appropriate action is taken against those who misuse them. They will also continue to work with individuals who need help to address substance misuse issues.

The council considered using special "blue light" in the toilets, to discourage drug use, but government guidance is not to use this. Reduced visibility can increase risk for users of the facilities.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hook, said: "Our prime concern is the safety of the public – not just the users of these facilities, but the staff who clean them too.

"The new bins do not mean we're condoning drug use. We're all doing our best to clamp down on it, but if it does happen then we must provide a way of making sure needles are safely out of the way.

"We're working with police and other agencies on the issue of anti-social behaviour, and next week councillors will decide whether to introduce an order that would give us more powers to tackle such problems."

The council has been consulting residents on whether to introduce a public space protection order (PSPO) for the town centre, which will increase the powers available to police and council officers when tackling anti-social behaviour linked to drinking, drug use and aggressive begging. The consultation has now closed and councillors will make a decision on 17 October.

Police Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich, Gosport District Commander, said: “The safety of residents and visitors to Gosport is a priority for us. We're committed to working with partners to make the public toilets safe for the community to use. A PSPO in the town would give my officers and the council’s Streetscene team enhanced powers to tackle the anti-social behaviour which is impacting on the facilities.

"Anti-social behaviour connected to drug use is an issue we need to work together with the local council and health partners to resolve and I’m pleased that we are seeing real progress.”

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