Funds needed to keep toilets

PUBLISHED: 10:30 15 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

A LITTLEHAM public toilet, popular with holidaymakers and ramblers, will be closed permanently from next year - if the town hall don t stump up more than £3,000 in annual running costs. But, if they do, there are concerns it could lead to more services be

A LITTLEHAM public toilet, popular with holidaymakers and ramblers, will be closed permanently from next year - if the town hall don't stump up more than £3,000 in annual running costs.

But, if they do, there are concerns it could lead to more services being paid for by the town hall and result in a hike in council tax.

The public toilets, near the Clinton Arms, had been voluntarily 'sponsored' by Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, paying the £3,260 running costs - the toilets were closed between 2005 to 2007.

The conveniences were shut to save on maintenance costs, and reopened just for the Easter and summer tourist trade thanks to Sandy Bay.

But Bourne Leisure stopped sponsoring the toilets and Mark Reilly, head of Streetscene at the district council, wrote to the town hall and said: "I would ask the town council to consider sponsoring the seasonal opening of these toilets...with inflation the approximate costs is...£3,325.61."

Cllr David Cox, EDDC's portfolio holder, added: "The budget is very tight...

"Unless new funds are made available, the toilets will be kept closed. The amount of usage doesn't warrant it staying open."

Town councillor Steve Wragg, at the general purposes and regeneration committee, reiterated that there should be 'no function without finance' - and as the town hall gained more responsibilities, the money should come with it.

Any increase of the district council's share of council tax is capped at five per cent, but the town hall's precept has no limit and he said: "It's not sponsorship. It would be imposing a stealth tax on people in Exmouth."

Cllr Mark Williamson said: "The sum is closer to £3,907 before VAT. It would set a precedent of the devolution of assets."

He said there was 'anecdotal evidence' of the facilities being used by walkers - but pointed out there are also nearby toilets at Sandy Bay, at the tea rooms, while the landlord of the Clinton Arms was 'happy' for the public to use the facilities.

"How many people actually use them?" he asked. "The viability of the toilets is questionable to say the least.

"Perhaps the money could be used, instead, to open part-time toilets all year round, or add toilets, where they are needed.

"Key areas like the docks don't have toilets. Let's start a sensible evidence-based dialogue.

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