BUS users have slammed toilet closures at Southend Bus Station as "embarrassing".

Nick Brown, 37, says toilets at Southend Bus Station on Chichester Road have been closed to passengers for weeks.

As a result, he has been forced to use toilets in nearby cafes while waiting for the bus so he could travel to his Leigh home.

A spokesman for Southend City Council said the toilets need occasional closure for maintenance or cleaning but insisted there was no extended closure.

Mr Brown, who is a volunteer at the Southend British Heart Foundation charity shop and is partially sighted, slammed the situation.

He said: “I frequently pass through the bus station three times a week and I notice only one out of four toilets in the bus station are in use. Multiple have out of order signs.

“I thought it wasn’t appropriate, suitable or helpful when the accessible toilet is one of those undergoing maintenance. I’m not even sure why they’re closed.

“I can be waiting up to an hour when the buses aren’t running as they should so it’s a long time. It’s likely I’ll have the use the facilities on some occasions.”

He added: “It’s an embarrassing situation for our city when many public toilets such as in the bus station are out of order for long periods of time. An accessible facility should be a priority to ensure it is available.”

Mr Brown called on the council to immediately fix the problem arguing it was symptomatic of the lack of proper investment in buses within the city.

Responding to his complaints a Southend Council spokesman was not aware of any long-term problems and stated nearby toilets were in use for passengers. They said: “Our toilets at the travel centre sometimes need to be temporarily closed for maintenance or cleaning. This is usually for a short period of time and does not mean that they are locked all the time.

“There are also other publicly accessible toilets located nearby in The Royals Shopping Centre, Victoria Shopping Centre and the seafront.”