SOUTHEND Council has been accused of neglecting a “squalid” bus station after doors were left broken for almost three weeks.

Vandalised doors of Southend Travel Centre, in Chichester Road, were left for 19 days and bus passengers have complained of dirty toilets and litter-strewn floors.

Southend Council has apologised and is looking for new maintenance contractors after thugs smashed the doors in March.

However, a series of other complaints have been made and workmen only started making repairs on Monday.

Anne Jones, Labour councillor for Kursaal, said: “The toilets are often in an appalling state and the neglect and squalor do not make it an inviting and appealing experience. On many occasions I have had to report faults, often the same fault.”

Labour councillor for Milton, Julian Ware-Lane, said: “This centre has been beset by problems.

The signs are often malfunctioning and the doors are frequently not working.” The Echo found litter on the floor and an overpowering smell from the toilets when it visited the centre yesterday.

A council spokesman said it would be doubling the frequency the doors were serviced and would consider cleaning toilets more often.

He said: “We apologise for any convenience caused customers while this was resolved, but we acted quickly to make sure the doors were made safe and repaired. Our door maintenance contract is being re-tendered and we are planning for the doors to be serviced quarterly rather than bi-annually.

“In terms of toilet cleaning, our maintenance contract for the toilets means they are cleaned at least twice a day.

However, we are reviewing this as part of a re-tendering exercise across the borough.”

The council also denied any malfunctioning of the electronic signs in the bus station and said they awere working well.

The spokesman added: “The system has been upgraded in the last few months with new software and will include further developments.”

Betty Collar,85, of Selwyn Road, Southend: “It’s a mess, especially the toilets.

The doors are usually open and there was a fight in the men’s toilets. It’s not my favourite spot. They should be able to keep it clean.”

Helena Grout, a nurse, of Broughton Road, Hadleigh: “It stinks of urine as you come past the men’s toilets.

From the outside it looks great, but the smell lets it down. It would be nice to brighten the place up a bit.”

Lia Wilkerson, from Great Wakering: “It’s normally quite clean. I have never seen any rubbish there. Sometimes the doors don’t work, but they put up signs. The seats could be a bit warmer and more comfy.”

Brenda Forge, of Rayleigh Road, Leigh: “There doesn’t seem to have been any rubbish around and it seems quite clean. A lot of the buses are filthy, but that’s because of people who throw rubbish about.”