Charging for Orcombe Point toilets on the cards?

PUBLISHED: 16:59 03 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:25 10 June 2010

MOVES to open public toilets in Exmouth, closed outside the summer months, by paying for them out of town councillors unclaimed expenses were rejected this week. But a trial to pay a nominal fee so the toilets pay for themselves could happen, following

MOVES to open public toilets in Exmouth, closed outside the summer months, by paying for them out of town councillors unclaimed expenses were rejected this week.

But a trial to pay a nominal fee so the toilets pay for themselves could happen, following a suggestion from The Regeneration and general Purposes Committee Chairman, Pauline Stott.

Town councillor Ken Harper has spearheaded a campaign to keep key toilets in Exmouth - including those at Orcombe Point - open all year round.

He had previously criticised the district council's cost-cutting policy of closing some public toilets in September and reopening in April.

In one instance he saw beach visitors relieving themselves outside the closed Orcombe Point toilets, and he said: "You can't offer a facility then close it in their faces.

"And the ones that were open were dirty and poor condition. If you are closing toilets in a holiday resort what chance do we have?

"We need the season extended from March to October."

But a reply from the Head of Streetscene Mark Reilly, said there was 'no additional budget available' to keep toilets outside the holiday season open.

Councillor Eileen Wragg said: "None of the councillors claim allowances although we are entitled to them.

"Couldn't we claim these allowances just once and use them to fund toilets?"

Deputy Mayor Darryl Nicholas backed the proposal - if it meant no extra expense and the money had been budgeted for.

But Town Clerk John Wokersien confirmed that because in the council's 12-year history councillors had the 'tradition' of not claiming expenses, no money had been set aside and the suggestion was rejected because the council tax precept would need to be raised.

Cllr Stott suggested a charge could be levied: "I'm not talking about a lot of money, maybe 10p or 20p," she said.

"The problem is the Government - toilets are not considered statutory duties by council's and they should be."

Keeping every toilet open all year, maintenance and staffing in Exmouth costs £85,000 - equivalent to an extra £6.44 for every band D council tax payer.

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