Council block defibrillator on Bitterne public

Council block defibrillator on Bitterne public toilets

Fencing has been built around the public toilets in Bitterne as they are closed for refurbishment.

But in a shocking move, access to the defibrillator attached to the facilities has also been restricted.

The next closest defibrillator is 176 yards away at Bitterne United Reform Church.

Southampton City Council is looking into the issue as ‘a matter of urgency’.

Daily Echo:

Robert Harlend, 77, paid a visit to the precinct on Tuesday and was appalled at the sight.

He said: “It is very inconvenient.

“I would imagine that if someone was in need it would be rather difficult to access the defibrillator.

“It is a great pity.”

He added: “I was in a rush, and I thought I would park in the car park behind Sainsbury’s and go to the loo, but I found them closed.

“It would have been nice if the council had put a sign up.

“Loos are terribly important and when there isn’t any, it is not good.”

Mr Harlend’s thoughts were echoed by Sheila Roseman.

Daily Echo:

Sheila, from Woolston, said: “Surely there must have been a way to safely close off the toilets whilst ensuring there is still access to a device that could save someone’s life?

“Seems like a definite lack of common sense to me.”

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, added: “The council really needs to think about this closure.

“To block the defibrillator off is just silly. Fair enough it needs to be closed, but there needs to be something there to use.”

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The public toilets have been subject to scrutiny in recent months, with people branding the facilities in Angel Crescent as ‘disgusting’ and ‘vile’.

Southampton City Council hit back at these claims, stating the toilets are scrubbed clean daily.

The council confirmed the refurbishment of the toilet block was on a ‘high list of priorities’ – and plans are now coming to fruition.

Councillor Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for environment, confirmed the refurbishment was agreed following public consultation in September 2022. 

He said: “The area was fenced off yesterday, along with the Defibrillator box which is undergoing essential repairs/maintenance – as soon as it is back in service the defibrillator will be accessible again.

“Once resolved, we will either move the site fencing at night to keep access to the defibrillator, move the box temporarily to a new position on the toilets favourable for keeping access while fenced, or temporarily move to a nearby location.”

The refurbishment works are due to be completed by end of July 2024.

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