MINEHEAD Town Council will explore giving up the public toilets at Quay West with motorhome users reportedly racking up hefty bills for the taxpayer.

A long and wide-ranging discussion of the issues at Quay West at Minehead Town Council's most recent full council meeting concluded with the council agreeing to reduce the opening hours of the toilets to 11am until 4pm, write a letter to Somerset County Council expressing disappointment at the lack of urgent action being taken, and to explore returning the lease back to Somerset West and Taunton Council.

Minehead Town Council runs the toilets on a lease from Somerset West and Taunton Council, having taken them on as part of an agreement when West Somerset Council was looking at potentially closing the district's toilets in a bid to balance its budget.

However a number of issues have arisen over the summer as motorhome users have been legally taking advantage of the unrestricted parking close to the toilets, emptying their cassettes and filling their tanks with hosepipes.

Last month Minehead Town Council agreed to write to Somerset County Council to ask for action to be taken to prevent the motorhomes parking at Quay West overnight.

But a response from Somerset County Council leader Cllr David Fothergill explained that the current situation did not meet the criteria to impose an intervention under the council's coronavirus policy.

Cllr Fothergill also said that any changes to the current parking system at Quay West would need to be carefully considered.

Minehead town councillor John Malin said: "The thrust of this new letter is that we are very unhappy at the lack of response from the County Council.

"The County Council has failed Minehead residents on this issue in the past few weeks.

"I know another seaside town in a different county but not far from us that was facing similar issues, they contacted their county councillor and within 10 days there were new barriers but up.

"We have had no action whatsoever from the County Council I'm afraid."

Cllr Anne Lawton added: "The area of Quay Street and Quay West was never designed or intended to be a camping site. It is a nuisance.

"We must make sure motorhomes and caravans go in proper campsites with the proper facilities."

Cllr Toni Bloomfield added: "I am disappointed with the response from Somerset County Council - there is no offer to work together, or to come down and look at the problem with us."

The town council went on to agree that the option of giving up the lease of the toilets to Somerset West and Taunton Council should be explored.

Town Clerk Bryan Howe warned that if the town council did give up the lease, there was a good chance the toilets would be closed.

Cllr Terry Venner said he felt the town council had got a 'raw deal' with the Quay West toilets, with Minehead mayor Cllr Paul Bolton adding he felt it was unlikely the town council was going to 'chuck money' at renovating the toilets when they did not own them.