PUBLIC toilets in Hexham are set for improvement.

Northumberland County Council's Cabinet is being asked to approve £1.35m for a three-year programme of improvement and refurbishment work to public toilets across the county.

The full council will then have the final sign-off at the budget setting meeting on February 23.

It was announced in 2015 that the toilets in Hexham's St Mary's Wynd would close, but they are now set to re-open and will be fully refurbished.

Across the county, 18 other facilities are set for full refurbishment and modernisation, including those at Wentworth Car Park, as well as the public toilets in Haltwhistle.

All remaining county council toilets will undergo essential refurbishment, so the facilities are brought up to a "decent standard of repair".

Around £920,000 will be allocated to improving facilities in the county's main towns, with work including backlog maintenance, replacement old equipment where required and in some cases, new cubicles and internal walls.

A further £500,000 will be spent on the essential refurbishment on all remaining facilities, while £50,000 will go towards accessibility improvements in all toilets involving simple changes such as colour contrasts, better signage and lighting, which research has shown can make public toilets easier to use for people with dementia, incontinence, sight or other sensory impairments.

Cabinet Member for Local Services and county councillor for Bellingham, John Riddle, said: “It’s very important we invest in improvements to these vital facilities which we know are valued by both residents and visitors – at a time when some areas are closing their toilets.

“We want everyone to have access to top quality facilities, and these refurbishments will ensure people have access to modern, improved and clean toilets throughout the county.

County councillor for Hexham Central with Acomb, Trevor Cessford, said: "I'm delighted that my constant lobbying of the county council regarding the toilet provision in Hexham has now been taken on board."

Mayor of Hexham and county councillor for Hexham West, Derek Kennedy, said: "The public have said to councillors for years that they want action on the toilets.

"In recent days I organised a tour of the loos for the leader of County Council Coun. Glen Sanderson, Coun. John Riddle and Hexham county councillors Trevor Cessford and Suzanne Fairless-Aitken. We pointed the poor state they were in and the need for immediate investment."

Coun. Kennedy said he believes the public toilets at the Sele and Tyne Green also need attention.

"They are in a shocking state and they are an embarrassment to our lovely town," he said.

The county council's budget proposals include a £307 million capital programme for 2022/23, covering major investment in affordable housing, improvements to leisure centres and a range of renewable energy schemes.

Savings of £9.7 million are also earmarked, although Council Leader Councillor Glen Sanderson said these will not be at the expense of frontline services.

To read the full budget report, visit