SOUTHEND seafront is to get five temporary public toilets over the summer following complaints from residents and tourists about the closure of toilet blocks.

Toilets at The Leas, in Westcliff, and the Menzies shelter, in Chalkwell, have been shut during the past two years. It leaves just four public conveniences between Leigh and the Golden Mile on Southend seafront.

There have also been complaints from residents after the toilets at Chalkwell Beach closed temporarily for urgent repair works.

Ian Robertson, councillor responsible for toilets, confirmed two temporary portable loos would be sited beside the old toilet block in The Leas, Westcliff, over the summer.

Mr Robertson said: "It is our intention to have a total of five temporary toilets in place there before the start of the peak summer season, with the school holidays at the end of July."

The old toilet block at The Leas is being turned into a new cafe and restaurant. However, a public toilet is included in the new development, which should be open by next summer.

Mr Robertson said the council was also carrying out a review of public toilets, looking at whether more are needed in certain areas of the borough. He spoke after opposition councillors criticised the council because the toilet block at Chalkwell Beach was closed suddenly for repair work.

Westborough Independent councillor Tania Painton, who is a regular swimmer at the beach, said: "I had to listen to scores of people complaining about the fact they are going to the toilets near Chalkwell bowling green and have found them locked up because contractors are doing work."

Ms Painton added there were three coaches of children down from London on the day when the toilets were closed, "so goodness knows where they went when they needed the lavatory".

Liberal Democrat group leader Graham Longley said: "This is another incident which shows the desperate need for more public toilets on the seafront.

"It seems they have been an easy target for the present administration to keep the budget down."

Imran Kazelbash, team leader for waste management at the council, said the public toilets at Chalkwell Beach were only closed for several hours on one day.

He added: "This was for maintenance work which had to be carried out."