Last-minute talks to save town's toilets
THE fate of Lostwithiel's public toilets is yet to be resolved, weeks before they are due to be closed.
Town and Cornwall councillors are talking again, but remain at loggerheads over the terms under which ownership would pass to Lostwithiel Town Council.
A town council working party has come up with options if an agreement cannot be reached, including hiring portable loos for community events or directing visitors to the toilets at the community centre, but disagreement remains over what work Cornwall Council must do to the lavatories in Church Lane facilities before the town council takes them over.
The town authority says it is concerned over the state of the drains and estimates it will cost around £80,000 a year to refurbish the toilets and £15,000 a year to maintain them.
At its latest meeting it emerged that County Hall had offered the town council a package whereby it took over not only the toilets but also the Cattle Market car park, which it leases from County Hall, and the market building, home to a complementary health clinic.
Councillors agreed face-to-face talks were now needed, Chris Jewels saying: "To do nothing would be a disservice to everyone."
Councillor Tim Hughes told the meeting an official at County Hall had told him the money set aside to repair the toilets had now been spent.
The town council, which has been aware of the impasse for months, agreed face-to face talks were now needed before the toilets were due to close on December 31.
Cornwall councillor Benedicte Bay told the town council the situation was "getting farcical'' and she would contact the relevant Cabinet member, Edwina Hannaford, to set up an urgent meeting.
A Cornwall Council spokeswoman said the authority had spent two years talking to town and parish councils to devolve responsibility for public toilets to them.
"In cases where town and parish councils have agreed to take over the facilities, Cornwall Council has agreed to carry out refurbishment of toilets to help cut running costs and improve access.
"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 that it did not wish to do this. However, discussions have been reopened and we are hopeful a solution can be found to secure the opening of the facilities."