Will town council save our toilets?
THE fate of Polkerris Beach's public toilets could be decided at a town council meeting tonight.
The toilet block, just yards from the beach, was due to be closed by Cornwall Council on Monday but has won a stay of execution until April 22.
The council leases the toilets from the Menabilly Estate but, as part of cost-cutting measures, wants to offload the lease and the cost of their upkeep on to Fowey Town Council, which will decide whether to take them over at its meeting tonight.
The prospect of Polkerris having no public toilets was greeted with dismay by residents and business-owners.
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Bob Shillito, who runs the Polkerris Beach Company with his wife Lynn and son George, said: "Both the businesses and the residents are really upset about it.
"On a sunny day there are upwards of 700 people on the beach and they've all got to go to the toilet somewhere. It's just inconceivable that the toilets would close.
"A huge amount of time and money has been spent investing in Polkerris by the businesses here and for the toilets to be shut is just absurd."
Sam Turner, manager at restaurants Sams On The Beach, said it was outrageous for the toilets to close. "We have one toilet in our premises which is already used like it's going out of fashion, so if they close the only public toilets then it's going to have a massive impact on our business," he said.
Villager Pat Williams said it would be disgraceful if the toilets closed and tourists would end up urinating in gardens and hedgerows: "The road down to the beach is riddled with potholes, part of the coast path is still closed from a landslip and now this. People have just had enough."
Cornwall Council announced last year that it was looking to shut public toilets – or hand over their upkeep to town or parish councils – in a bid to cut costs by £170 million – £1.5 million of this from the toilets budget.
A Cornwall Council spokesman confirmed the toilets had been granted a stay of execution pending a decision by Fowey town council on taking them over.
Fowey's deputy mayor Anne Boosey declined to comment in advance of the meeting.
A spokeswoman for the Menabilly Estate said: "Cornwall Council leases the building from us. We've only just learned about this ourselves and are just looking at the options open to us."