North Cornwall local councils will run the public toilets
PUBLIC toilets across towns in North Cornwall are to be secured after parish and town councils agreed to take over their reins from Cornwall Council.
The county authority has reached agreement with local councils in Launceston, Callington, Deviock, Downderry, Lerryn and Seaton to hand over responsibility for the maintenance and cleaning of facilities in their areas.
As part of the early agreements, Cornwall Council will give a grant to some councils for the maintenance and cleaning costs and carry out capital improvement works on the facilities including installing energy and water-saving measures to help cut future running costs.
Launceston Town Council, which already runs the toilets in the Town Hall car park, is taking over the facilities at the Walk House car park and at Race Hill.
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The town council will get a grant of £5,000 until April.
"After that we will take on the running of the toilets and we believe we can do it with local staff at far less cost," said mayor Robert Tremain.
St Teath Parish Council has been talking with the county about taking over the well-used toilets in High Street, Delabole.
"We have a lady to do the job and we are waiting to hear from Cornwall Council. We are waiting for their legal department to sort out the lease," said parish clerk Sue Theobald.
Bude-Stratton Town Council has told the county authority it is prepared to enter into discussions providing it is given a revenue-generating asset such as a car park.
"I would like to thank the town and parish councils for their willingness to work with us to secure the future for public toilets in their areas," said Cornwall councillor John Pollard.
"The £170 million cut in government funding meant that closing some toilets was a real possibility.
"I am pleased that some towns and parishes have agreed to work with us to introduce local control and management and by doing so protecting the toilets in their areas.
"We are committed to looking at alternative ways of maintaining the provision of public conveniences for communities and continue to have positive discussions with a number of other local councils on their facilities. We have also recently begun a trial to look into the viability of a community toilet scheme – giving members of the public access to facilities in public buildings and businesses."
Callington Town Council has recently taken over ownership of the town's two facilities.
Helen Dowdall, clerk to Callington Town Council, said: "The town council has been keen to maintain services where possible in the town for our residents."