Councillors offer to clean Lostwithiel's loos
LOSTWITHIEL councillors have offered to clean the town's public toilets themselves if Cornwall Council can be persuaded to reopen them until fresh talks over ownership are completed.
Negotiations between the council and County Hall will not resume until next month.
The town council was hoping to meet officials from the local authority this Friday but has been told talks will not take place until February 5 at the earliest.
Benedicte Bay, the town's Cornwall councillor, is attempting to persuade the authorities to reopen the Church Lane facilities at least on a temporary basis until the situation is sorted out one way or another.
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"Cornwall Council has told me is has no budget to keep Lostwithiel's toilets open and the Cormac-employed cleaner was made redundant at Christmas," she said.
"The council isn't in a position to reopen them immediately, but I anticipate finding a way forward at a meeting I've arranged in early February."
Cornwall Council, which owns the toilets, closed them at Christmas after no agreement was reached on the terms under which the town council could take them over.
It emerged at January's town council meeting that members resolved as long ago as August 6 to cease negotiations with County Hall about taking ownership of the toilets.
Last week, they voted to reverse that decision to start negotiating with Cornwall Council again.
Ms Bay told the town council: "The public are less than happy and it was short-sighted of the council to close them, as a lot of people use the toilets." Councillor Dave Robson told her: "If you can get them reopened, and there's a problem [with County Hall] over cleaning, this council will be happy to clean the toilets as a temporary measure."
Councillor Mervyn Jones said dealing with Cornwall Council's officers had been extremely difficult, branding them dictatorial and saying their attitude had worsened since the unitary authority was created in 2009: "The officers have been obstructive and become dictators, and I feel sorry for you, Benedicte, because I feel you have an almost impossible job."
Ms Bay said after the meeting that she fully supported Lostwithiel Town Council's stance in not taking over ownership until the conveniences had been fully renovated.
"Personally, I would support the replacement of the current public toilets with a disabled-friendly, unisex eco-toilet, which would reduce the daily running and long-term maintenance costs for the town in the future," she said. "I've asked Cornwall Council if the budget that would have been spent on renovating the existing toilets could instead be spent on a new eco-toilet for the town."