Councillor cleans St Mawgan loos for six months to keep facilities open
A CORNWALL councillor has been so determined to save a public toilet in his area from closure that he has spent the past six months cleaning it himself.
John Fitter, whose division covers St Mawgan and Colan, drives seven miles to St Mawgan and back every day to clean a disabled toilet for residents and walkers to use.
The cubicle is opened and closed each day by St Mawgan craft shop owner Valerie Codd, who even arranges fresh flowers inside each day.
The village's block – consisting of a ladies', men's and a disabled toilet – was closed in April along with dozens of others across the county after cash-strapped Cornwall Council was forced to slash its toilets' budget by half and save £1.5 million a year.
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But instead of losing the "vital" toilets in St Mawgan altogether, Councillor Fitter offered to take on the responsibility of the disabled toilet and clean it himself until another solution can be found.
He told the Cornish Guardian: "The only way I could do it was to take a risk assessment myself and take responsibility for it.
"The parish council put me on their insurance and with the help of the lady from the craft shop who opens and locks up each day, and not forgetting my cover while on holiday, we have been able to ensure visitors can have a comfort break in a toilet that even has fresh flowers in the cubicle.
"I do it because it is so important that the village has a toilet facility and it is not up to local people to do it, it is up to councillors to step up to the plate.
"Lots of visitors walk from Mawgan Porth to church (in St Mawgan). Lots of people walk from St Columb to St Mawgan; it is a vital toilet.
"If I did not do it they would have been closed."
Cornwall Council is currently still funding the disabled toilet's electricity and water costs and Councillor Fitter will continue to clean it until the school's half-term; the first week of November.
It is hoped the village business group will then take over the responsibility and running costs of the WC or it will be forced to close altogether.
He said: "The business group will hopefully take over then. If there is no resolution after half-term we will close them because there has to be a line."
Peter McGahan, chairman of Mawgan Business Group, said: "For us the toilets need to be open all year round and that means we attract people all year round.
"For John to step up to the mark and say 'I am going to clean them' – that is the mark of a man."