PLANS to turn former public loos into a café – including a toilet that will be open to all – have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The block in Ipswich Road, Holland-on-Sea, were controversially closed by Tendring Council three years ago as part of money-saving plans to axe ten public toilets.

The block was previously branded a magnet for drug-taking and antisocial behaviour, although nearby residents had volunteered to run it to ensure elderly residents have access to loos while shopping in the village.

But last year the council instead agreed to lease the facility to a new tenant..

Stuart Hazell applied for change of use along with internal and external seating areas.

He previously said: “I understand the importance of local community and wish to work alongside the people of Holland-on-Sea to provide a café that residents can enjoy and be proud of.

“I have listened to the concerns raised by the community and offered to provide a lavatory at the cafe that can be accessed and used by the public when the cafe is open.”

The decision to offer the lease had been called-in by ward councillors, but they withdrew their objection after the tenant offered to make the lavatory.

A report by planning officers said: “The building is no longer in use and has been empty since its closure.

“While there is very little appearance of dilapidation, the planning application presents an opportunity to realise a viable alternative tourism-related use for a redundant building.”

A decision on the application was expected to be made by Tendring Council’s planning committee this week.