AFTER several years in the planning, the new toilets at Seagrove Bay are now finished and open — and they are gender neutral.

The issue dates back to 2015, when two Seaview property owners offered to knock down the ramshackle toilets and build new conveniences nearby, which would also improve the parking areas at their homes.

The dilapidated old public conveniences were demolished, but several delays led to local residents becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in getting new ones installed.

Mark Pink, parish clerk at Nettlestone and Seaview Parish Council, confirmed the new block was now open.

The parish council is leasing them from the landowner and will be responsible for the maintenance and cleaning contract.

The toilets are gender neutral with an open vestibule and two cubicles, one for general use and one for wheelchair access and with baby changing facilities.

There is an alarm people can raise if there are any issues, and a light will flash outside.

Mr Pink said: "The old toilets were really grotty and no amount of cleaning would have made them much better, so when we were approached about them, four or five years ago, we were happy to take over the running costs, cleaning and maintenance, if it meant getting a completely new building.

"Seagrove Bay is a busy place in the summer, but also in the winter with walkers along the coast, so it is good to have the toilets in place and open."

Local resident Vicky Roome had been pushing to get the toilets reinstated.

She said: "They did seem to take an age to be built, with disasters and problems the whole way through, but at least they are now a permanent fixture of Seagrove Bay.

"These toilets are a must for all locals and visitors wanting to enjoy the beach, sailing, walks etc."