New year sees Lostwithiel left without a public loo
LOSTWITHIEL has been left without public toilets after the failure of the town council to agree a deal with County Hall to take them over.
Owners Cornwall Council stuck to its deadline and closed the Church Lane facilities on December 31.
Lostwithiel Town Council is hopeful there is still a chance of further negotiations to resolve the situation in the coming weeks.
The closure is already impacting on the town with event organisers requesting to use pub toilets instead.
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Mike Dobbie, vice-chairman of the Lostwithiel Business Group, said the situation could not continue.
"A pub landlady was telling me the other day she had been asked if people attending a forthcoming event in the church would be allowed to use her pub's toilets, otherwise they would have be enforced to cancel the concert," said Mr Dobbie.
"The closure has already had a pronounced impact on visitors and some businesses in Fore Street which do not have toilet facilities in their premises.
"Perhaps the town council should look at putting portable toilets on the Parade if it cannot reach an agreement soon,'' he said.
The town council said it feels the Church Lane toilets need to be brought up to a higher standard of refurbishment than Cornwall Council is prepared to undertake before agreeing to take ownership of the facilities.
Town councillors have said they are particularly concerned about the state of the drainage system and estimates indicate it will cost around £80,000 to repair.
Residents have seen a huge hike in the amount of money they have paid to the town council over the past two years, with the precept increasing by almost 100 per cent.
The town council has stated in the past that one reason for the increased council tax bills was to pay for the upkeep of the Church Lane loos once it took them over.
Currently Lostwithiel Town Council has £10,000 in its budget for maintaining the facilities.
The two parties had been in negotiation for almost two years about ownership of the toilets, plus the Cattle Market car park, which it leases from County Hall, and the old Market building, now home to a complementary health clinic.
Cornwall Council said the offer to refurbish the facilities at Church Lane was dependent on Lostwithiel Town Council taking over responsibility for the toilets and the town council had indicated late last year it did not wish to do that, resulting in the toilets being closed on December 31.
A town council working party has come up with options if the public toilets were to permanently close, including hiring portable loos for community events and directing visitors to the toilets at the community centre.
This week, Lostwithiel's deputy mayor, Pam Jarrett, said her council was still interested in taking over ownership of the toilets so they can be opened again to the public.
"We are still talking to Cornwall Council and hope to hold a meeting,'' she said.
A spokesman for Cornwall Council said yesterday: "We continue to be open to discussions with Lostwithiel Town Council and remain hopeful a solution can be found."