Public toilet bill at £70k
- Credit: Archant
Weston’s public toilets have yet again been plagued with vandalism and antisocial behaviour – with the town council forking out an ‘eye-watering’ £70,000 to keep them open last year.
In the 2015-2016 financial year, Weston Town Council spent £70,464 on the public toilets – £23,329 on maintenance and repairs, £30,338 on cleaning and £16,797 on staff.
The authority took on six public toilets from North Somerset Council in 2013. It refurbished the toilets in 2014, installing new dryers, baby-changing facilities and under-floor heating at a cost of £160,000.
The income from the toilets for last year was just £6,648.
Central Ward councillor Richard Nightingale said although the toilets are ‘very important facilities’ the costs to keep them open are racking up.
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He said: “Vandalism of toilets in Weston has become an epidemic.
“Weston Town Council’s commitment to providing this service, in the face of such difficult challenges, is certainly unwavering. However along with this comes a financial cost which is simply eye-watering.”
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The town council maintains toilets in Grove Park, Ashcombe Park and Clarence Park, as well as Locking Road, The Maltings in Worle and Links Road in Uphill.
Since the town council took over the toilets, several have been covered in graffiti, set alight and used as a shelter for people taking drugs.
All three cubicles in Grove Park were closed in February after a fire damaged the floor and tiles, a light was ripped out and graffiti was daubed on the ceilings.
Cllr Nightingale said the town council is considering a number of anti-vandalism measures and is ‘doing everything possible’ to prevent future attacks.
He said: “These range from more frequent inspections, to CCTV surveillance in the areas leading up to the toilets to try and catch the perpetrators. In my view this kind of mindless vandalism is unacceptable and we must make every effort to identify these people, so the police can take action.”
A spokesman for the town council said: “The town council believes public toilets provide a vital service, particularly for elderly and disabled people.
“Unfortunately persistent problems and antisocial behaviour from a selfish minority has added to the costs of cleaning and repairs but the town council is determined to maintain these important facilities in a clean and safe condition and is continually looking at ways to improve security.”