Charges to be introduced to keep town loos open

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:16 21 January 2013

Public Toilet.

Public Toilet.

Archant

YOU could soon be parting with up to 30p to spend a penny in Weston’s toilets.

North Somerset Council is slashing its public conveniences budget to zero and is looking to offload all but three of its loos to town and parish councils, and private firms.

On April 1 it is set to introduce a charge of 20-30p for the three seafront loos it wants to keep open, while Weston Town Council has agreed to take on five conveniences to prevent them closing. It too, is likely to introduce a charge of 20-30p for users.

North Somerset will scrap its £400,000 toilet budget for the financial year 2013/14, but is looking to introduce a charge at the seafront blocks opposite the Grand Atlantic Hotel, in Oxford Street and at Royal Sands.

Unless other authorities or companies take on the running of other toilets they will close.

The town council has set aside £92,787 in its budget for the next financial year to take on and manage the conveniences at Grove Park, Ashcombe Park, Clarence Park, The Maltings in Worle and Links Road in Uphill.

That offer is dependent on whether the authority is successful in getting a grant of £100,000 or more from North Somerset’s community investment fund for bringing the facilities up to standard.

The fund is ring-fenced to support projects involving greater community involvement in council services.

The £92,787 may be reduced if 20-30p charges are introduced, and the council sub-contracts the maintenance of some or all of the facilities to a private firm.

Speaking at a meeting of the town council on Monday, Cllr Richard Tucker said: “The bottom line is unless we take on the running of these toilets the chances are that North Somerset will close them and I don’t think our residents will want that to happen.

“I think we have got a duty to keep them open and do the best by our residents. I don’t think the council can really rely on North Somerset to keep them open, they are just looking at any opportunity to cut corners at the moment.”

Plans to take on the toilets at the Locking Road car park were scrapped at Monday’s meeting after it was revealed it was too ‘uneconomic’ to run the site, which requires extensive extra refurbishment work.

It now faces an uncertain future and could close alongside the Richmond Street toilets unless another organisation comes forward to run it.

Parish and town councils across the district are locked in discussions with North Somerset about taking on the facilities in their areas.

Blagdon Parish Council has already agreed to take over the village toilets in The Mead on April 1, after successfully negotiating a grant of £10,900 from the community investment fund to refurbish the facilities, and other parish councils are looking to follow suit.


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