A charity has called on the council to give the public access to alternative toilet facilities while one notorious block is undergoing renovations.

Public toilets in Angel Crescent, Bitterne, have been labelled "disgusting" and "vile" in recent months, with Southampton City Council now undertaking work to improve the facilities.

While the toilets are cordoned off, a portaloo has been set up beside the block, but it is padlocked and only accessible for construction workers on the project and market traders.

Now, charity Crohn's and Colitis UK has criticised the council for not providing alternative toilet options.

More than half a million people in the UK live with a diagnosis of Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis - one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease - with one of the main symptoms being urgent and frequent diarrhoea.

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A spokesperson for the charity told the Echo: "We know that 9 in 10 people with Crohn’s or Colitis plan their activities based on toilet access. It is challenging, stressful and isolating if public toilets are not available.

"Access to toilets should be treated as a public health issue by governments across the UK. National and local decision-makers must take action to increase the number of publicly available toilets, rather than allowing them to close.

"And in the case of Bitterne, an alternative option should be made available for those with health conditions, while the other toilets are being refurbished.

"We’d also urge people to remember that not every disability is visible, so if you see someone using an accessible toilet – please do not challenge them, they could have an invisible disability such as Crohn’s or Colitis.”

The next set of publicly available toilets are in the neighbouring town of West End on Chapel Road, around two miles away.

Resident Robert Harland said he was delighted the toilets were being renovated.

"There are so few around these days," he told the Echo.

“I have been told by female friends that the women’s toilet in particular is in desperate need of an update so I’m glad the council is doing something.

“However, when I was in the precinct, I saw a Portaloo.

“How considerate of the council I thought - to provide a facility for residents who might need to spend a penny while shopping. Wrong!”

The 77-year-old continued: “The door was padlocked, and a workman apologetically said the facility was only for the convenience of the workers refurbishing the loos.

“I don't see why the council couldn't provide alternative facilities. Bitterne is the only area I know with public toilets and its a real pity the council have closed the toilet with no alternative for residents.”

Daily Echo: A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “The refurbishment of the public toilets at Bitterne are due to complete by the end of July.

“In line with health, safety and welfare requirements, portable facilities have been placed on-site for construction workers, and as a goodwill gesture, the market traders have been given special access to these facilities for the duration of the works.”

Reacting to the council’s comment Robert added: “Although it would be nice, I can see why the council have done this. Sadly, I think the Portaloo would get trashed if the council left one out for residents.”