A BLOCK of public toilets in Ryde will now face the wrecking ball after demolition approval was given.

Concerns remained however that Ryde Esplanade would be blighted by temporary toilets for years if deadlines were not met.

As part of the wider Ryde Interchange scheme, designed to increase transport connectivity, the public toilet block and cafe need to be demolished to make way for a new access road to the pier.

The building's fate was sealed last night (Tuesday) at the Isle of Wight Council's planning committee.

Speaking at the meeting, as the local ward councillor, Phil Jordan confirmed toilet provision would be provided in the Esplanade train station the Isle of Wight Council was designing on behalf of South Western Railway.

Without the approval to demolish the toilets, Cllr Jordan told the committee it would not only risk the Island's £10 million funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) but the whole £56 million transport scheme happening across Portsmouth and Hampshire too.

Councillors shared concerns, however, about whether the station redevelopment would ever materialise and leave temporary toilets permanently in Western Gardens, after they had agreed to knock down the toilets.

Plans for Ryde Esplanade station, including the replacement toilets and cafe, have yet to be unveiled to the public, despite other aspects of the project progressing.

Cllr Matt Price said: "We are looking to take away public amenity space and facilities, putting temporary toilets in for an indefinite time. No one really wants to vote for knocking down a public toilet without knowing when the other one was built."

Cllr Geoff Brodie said it seemed like lunacy to knock the toilets down, putting in the temporary replacement, without a guarantee of a permanent alternative provision.

Answering concerns as cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Cllr Jordan confirmed again the toilets were included in the station and stressed the entire project had to be completed by March 2023, so the temporary provision would not be there for years.

He said the DfT could understand some slippage in the scheme due to Covid, of three or four months, but the scheme had to be delivered in 2023 otherwise the funding was withdrawn.

Cllr Price said he applauded Cllr Jordan's enthusiasm over the construction timeframe but could not see how it would be possible for the toilets to be opened in March next year.

Demolition of the block was approved with nine votes in favour, but one (Cllr Vanessa Churchman) against.