Calls to replace beachfront toilet block in Hampton, Herne Bay, with glass-fronted cafe
Flattening a decrepit toilet block and replacing it with a seaside cafe would make a strip of Herne Bay coast better than Tankerton, one councilor believes.
Canterbury City Council bosses are considering closing Hampton Pleasure Ground toilets on Swalecliffe Avenue in a bid to save more than £13,000.
The prospect of the building’s closure – which also provides space for the local foreshore team and the town’s table tennis club – has prompted calls for the demolition of the site, located next to A playground.
And Cllr Neil Baker thinks a ‘glass-fronted’ cafe should be erected in its place, to attract more visitors to the town.
‘Obviously there is a collection of dilapidated buildings there in a location that could be much more in terms of a coastal attraction for visitors or residents,’ explained the Tankerton Tory.
“I’m no architect, but imagine what you could do there with some of the most stunning sunsets in the world outside of Tankerton across the bay. There really is potential there.
“You just think with the views you have there, a nice windowed cafe or something could be really good for the area. There are existing uses there – like the table tennis club – but it’s tired.
“It’s a playground where, over the past few years, equipment has gone missing and not been replaced. It looks pretty terrible, and it could be an absolute gem.
Documents released by the city council say cuts are to be made to its public loos budget before the next fiscal year.
Restrooms remain closed during the fall and winter months, while another block near Hampton Pier Avenue is open year-round.
Despite this, contract costs for the shabby facilities total over £13,600 a year, excluding utility and external maintenance costs.
Herne and Broomfield councilor Joe Howes (Con) believes new life can be breathed into the site, which has views of the North Kent coast.
“There is potential for regeneration and repurposing of the site,” he added.
“If you had a two-story building with a cafe at the top looking out to these stunning views, that would be absolutely amazing. It would provide a stopping point for people walking to and from Whitstable.
“I don’t believe Turner painted Tankerton, but he painted Herne Bay because of sunset and sunrise, so it might make Studd Hill slightly better than Tankerton and Swalecliffe.”
Councilors voted to take the first steps toward closing Hampton Pleasure restrooms last Wednesday, agreeing to launch a public consultation on the planned closure.