TWO of Hexham's public toilets are to reopen for shoppers and other visitors to the town.

Local councillor Cath Homer said the facilities at the Wentworth Car Park would be available from Monday, June 15. after the menities on the Sele opened on Thursday.

Coun. Homer, who serves on both Hexham Town Council, and Northumberland County Council, representing Hexham East, said the move was urgently needed to support the town's ongoing recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a meeting of Hexham Town Council on Monday, she explained: "We need the toilets open as quickly as we can. Hopefully this is good news."

The need for public toilets has been heightened as more shops and businesses reopen, while pubs and restaurants remain closed.

Historically, all public toilets across the district were run by the local authority.

In recent years, however, some town and parish councils have taken up the opportunity to manage their own facilities.

Hexham's toilets are currently managed by the local authority, while the town council pays a contribution to keep them open during the winter months as well as the summer.

Coun. Homer said thorough risk assessments had been carried out, and the toilets would be open on a "one in, one out" basis, with regulations in place regarding queuing and social distancing.

She said the toilets at Tyne Green would also open in the the near future, but was unable to give a date because issues relating to queuing at those conveniences still had to be ironed out.

The government is now urging all councils to open their public conveniences, and has published strict guidance which must be adhered to in the interests of safety. Health and safety concerns have been raised, following reports of people relieving themselves outdoors in rural areas.