WEYMOUTH Esplanade's brand new 'Superloo' will open next Friday.

The long-awaited facility, which was delayed due to the pandemic, will provide 23 toilets - including 18 unisex cubicles three fully accessible toilets, parent room and family room, and a specially-adapted 'changing places space' toilet for people with profound disabilities.

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There will also be external showers for people to rinse off after enjoying Weymouth’s award-winning sands, and on the top floor there will be a new beach control office and outdoor balcony to help keep a watchful eye over the beach.

The building also has space for a new 'café project' - however hopes of a tourist information centre at the building have been dashed: the town council said it currently has 'no plans' to operate one.

The new facility has been welcomed by beach users and traders.

Robert Gutteridge, owner of The Tea Cabin, said: "It's been a huge upheaval, having to operate a cafe close to a building site, but the builders have been tremendous in keeping mess and inconvenience to a minimum.

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"At the moment our staff and customers have to use the Pier Bandstand toilets or the temporary loos near the Pavilion, both of which are quite a distance, so for us this new facility is very welcome and long overdue."

Graham Scott, who runs the Castaway beach hut shop near the new building, said: "It looks quite nice - it's an improvement. It will be a big help - it's just a shame it's taken quite a while to get it ready due to Covid."

Sue Kong and Julie Impey, visiting from Brighton, admired the new building from the beach.

Sue said: "I think it looks very cool - we're just disappointed it wasn't ready in time for our holiday."

Work to transform the former TIC building began in October 2019. Weymouth Civic Society raised concerns about the building layout, saying that it could cause 'major' problems during busy periods on the promenade.

Pauline Crump, who is chair of Weymouth Civic Society's Planning Committee, said the building spoils the view of The Esplanade.

She said: "Personally I think it's a wasted opportunity. As a committee we recognised how important it is for a new toilet facility to be built - however the design - in my view - really intrudes into the unity and the dignity of the Georgian Regency architecture of The Esplanade, and looks out of proportion. Weymouth has one of the best seafronts in the country.

"I recognise the huge financial constraint that makes it so difficult for councils to build at the moment - however other seaside resorts have built good modern buildings - in my view this isn't good architecture."

Dorset Council's contractors are due to finish work on Monday, and the building will then be handed over to Weymouth Town Council, which will be managing the facility.

Cllr Graham Winter, Mayor of Weymouth, said: “The completion of the Beach Control Office and toilet facilities is extremely welcome news. The new facilities will make a very positive difference to the town, and the family room in particular is a much needed addition to the seafront that will benefit visitors and locals.

“The new office facilities within the building will also enhance the Town Council’s beach operation and will give staff a functional and central base to work from. The Town Council will be responsible for the future of the building and will maintain it to a high standard to ensure that it remains a fantastic asset for many years to come.”

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Cllr Gary Suttle, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Economic Growth and Skills, said: “I am delighted to officially open this new toilet and beach control office. This has been a challenging project for our contractors, with inclement weather and the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The contractor decided to shut the site on 24 March. The site manager returned to the site on Monday May 11 and work recommenced using Covid secure practices. I want to extend my gratitude to the patience of the residents of Weymouth whist this facility has been built and we believe it will significantly enhance the experience for our visitors and residents alike.”

Funding was agreed for the toilets in 2018 by the former Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

The new facilities are a conversion of the ground floor area of the previous Beach Control Office.

In May this year Dorset Council confirmed the cost of the building project had risen from £450,000 to around £650,000.