Uncertainty over future of 100 public toilets in Cornwall
A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of almost 100 public toilets after Cornwall Council admitted that it has only confirmed deals to keep 13 open.
The council is aiming to hand over responsibility for most public toilets to parish and town councils in a bid to save £1.5 million a year.
This week the council issued a press release stating that 110 would be transferred to parish and town councils next month.
However when pressed by the Cornish Guardian to provide details of which ones were being transferred the council admitted that it had only completed deals for 13 of them. The press release also stated that the future of 56 other public toilets had also been secured after the council agreed to continue to maintain them but, again, when the Cornish Guardian asked for a list of locations the council said it was unable to provide them as negotiations were not complete.
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The news comes as parish and town councils have been forced to raise their council tax rates to cover expenditure of providing toilets as well as other services which the council has devolved.
Cornwall Council said it had invested £850,000 to improve public toilets across Cornwall and was also allocating £600,000 to help parish and town councils which take on public toilets.
The council also admitted that toilets which would remain under the control of County Hall could have charges introduced for users.
Bert Biscoe, Cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: "We may have to introduce charging in some facilities in places where we have been as yet unable to reach agreement with the local council.
"By working positively we will be able to keep to a relative minimum the number of toilets which will have to close. We remain available to discuss future handovers and are busy completing all those which have come forward.
"The ultimate results will be a significant improvement in the quality of public conveniences, retention of a good network of conveniences and a restoration of local control over local services."
The Cornish Guardian also asked the council to provide a list of public toilets which will close as a result of the project but was told the information was not available.