A DECISION to close town centre toilets in the evening has resulted in people urinating in the award-winning Lower Gardens, it is claimed.

Bus and taxi drivers are among those who have been caught short by the closure of the Westover Road toilets and the decision to lock up the toilets in the Gardens at 7pm.

Drivers whose shifts go on until past midnight had previously been able to access the disabled toilets with a Radar key but said an extra lock had now been placed on the toilet making it impossible.

Yellow Bus driver David Knight said: "Buses are on the road until gone midnight and it is ridiculous that there are no easily accessible public toilets.

"I have already seen people urinating in the Lower Gardens, which is horrible but then what is the alternative?

"People are very, very angry about it. We are in the summer now and there is nothing in the town centre at all. The ideal solution would be to leave the ones in the Lower Gardens open until later."

Jenni Wilkinson, head of marketing at Yellow Buses, said: "The public toilets in question were used by our drivers working in the evening and overnight so their closure/restricted opening has had an impact.

"We do have other toilet arrangements but we would be keen to talk to any town centre business happy to extend their facilities to our drivers."

A spokesperson for Bournemouth council confirmed they had an arrangement with Yellow Buses that allowed drivers to access facilities out of hours and said now they had been made aware of a problem, they would look into it.

Stuart Best, street services manager at Bournemouth council, said the seafront toilets were open late into the evening and the ones in the Lower Gardens would be open later when there were events on.

"Toilets are an important part of blue flag and green flag awards which the council is very proud to have," he said. "If you are on the beaches or in the town centre, you are never more than 500 metres away from a public toilet."

Cllr Lawrence Williams, cabinet member for tourism, leisure and the arts, said the former tourist information centre on Westover Road was not owned by the council and will revert back to the Meyrick Estate at the end of July.