FOUR years after Bridport businesswoman Caroline Parkins outbid developers to buy the toilets in East Street work has begun on replacing them.

The toilet block in the East Street car park was closed by West Dorset District Council and put up for auction at a guide price of £30,000.

At the 2013 sale Ms Parkins bid £108,000 to foil developers and vowed to get the facilities re-opened.

To pay for their refurbishment Ms Parkins, with architect Robert Wheelwright who offered his services free, submitted plans for two two-bedroom and one one-bedroom homes which front onto King Street.

Permission was granted in July 2015.

Ms Parkins, owner of Leakers Bakery, said the old toilets were torn down around three months ago and work is just beginning on the foundations for the new buildings.

The face brickwork will be provided in a 'Holmbury Red' brick while the roof will be finished with a natural Spanish slate.

She said it had been a long process but she had no regrets about her philanthropic gesture all those years ago.

She said: "I am really thrilled that work is finally underway."

"It has taken rather longer than I would have liked but I am really pleased it's all going ahead now."

Ms Parkins said she has been overwhelmed by the support from townspeople when she fought off developers to buy the site at auction from her own funds.

She said there would be discussions later about how and who will run the toilets after the work is finished.