COLCHESTER'S new "creative conveniences" are officially open.

The first 50 customers to use the new arty loos in Lion Walk received a commemorative loo-roll, designed by the artists.

For the past year artists Andy Hazell, Kate Farley and Lisa Temple-Cox worked with local community groups and members of the public to improve a selection of toilets in the town.

Clare Phillips, art development officer for Colchester Council, said: "We've had a really fantastic response to the new toilets.

"People were coming up to us all morning and saying how much nicer they looked.

"We easily gave away all our decorated toilet rolls.

"Public toilets have a bad reputation, justifiably so, but I think Lion Walk toilets are very different from your average public toilet."

She added that Dedham Vale toilets would be getting the creative touch next, and discussions are taking place about toilets in West Mersea.

Councillor Tim Young, portfolio holder for street and waste services, officially unveiled the new toilets.

He said: "Recent reports have highlighted the reduction by councils in the provision and maintenance of public toilets.

"However, following our visitors' and residents' feedback, Colchester took the firm decision to reinvest in public amenities and to make them a feature of the area by commissioning a design to tell the story of their locality."