SEAFRONT daytrippers were forced to urinate in the streets as toilets were locked for hours, traders say.

The retailers claim the loos in Southend were closed to the public for a time over the weekend as thousands of sunseekers flocked to the beach to enjoy the balmy temperatures.

Martin Richardson, owner of Happidrome Arcade on Southend seafront, said council officers said they “couldn’t get hold of the person with the keys”.

Mr Richardson added: “There were people urinating in the streets and we caught one man doing it behind our business.

“There were six additional toilets that were locked until midday on Saturday and from 6pm on Saturday and they were not opened until about 11am on Sunday.”

The authority disputed when and how long the loos were closed for but has pledged to review the times of their operation. 


This comes as parents also complained they struggled to find aid when losing children or when a youngster was injured.

The first aid hut was shut for hours over the two days, leaving those to rely on traders for help.

Mr Richardson added that last Thursday and Friday the first aid hut on Jubilee Beach was shut, and there was about six lost children he and other traders had to deal with.

He added: “In one incident we looked after a lost boy for 45 minutes and kept looking for his parents.

“There were also incidents where children cut their feet on sharp rocks and were covered in blood but the first aid hut was shut.”

Paul Thompson, who runs Pebbles One Cafe, said: “The staffing for the first aid hut on Jubilee Beach is no where near enough for the thousands of people who come.”

Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning said: “With additional measures in place at our public toilets due to Covid-19, there are queues for our public toilets at busy times, and that is why we have brought in additional portaloos along Marine Parade.

"The portaloos were not closed for the entirety of the weekend. They are scheduled to be cleaned and opened by mid-morning but we are reviewing the times of operation following queues on Saturday morning.”

Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “Whilst attending accidents and emergencies, the medical hut might at times be temporarily closed while officers respond to the incident, but with a sign giving an emergency number should anyone require assistance.”