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Free to pee in Falmouth... But just for one day
6:00am Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
It won’t cost a penny to spend a penny in Falmouth today, Wednesday, after the town council agreed to subsidise the cost of decommissioning the charging mechanisms at the two main public toilets, but just for one day.
Councillors felt it was imperative that the toilets at Grove Place and Prince of Wales Pier were free to use as thousands of extra visitors are expected in town ahead of the Red Arrows display this evening.
In the longer term, town councillors are to negotiate the future management of all the town’s public toilets with Cornwall Council, with initial hopes that they come under town council control from next April.
An emergency item was placed on the agenda of a special meeting of the town council on Monday following negotiations with Cornwall Council over the possibility of waiving the toilet fees for the whole of Falmouth Week.
This proved unfeasible, though, when the county council claimed it would lose £7,000 income over the week and the town council only had £5,000 available. Instead, it has been agreed that the town will pay £585 so the toilets can be free of charge today only.
Councillor Candy Atherton has been tackling the issue at County Hall and hopes to find a way forward in the long-term, recognising the fee is causing problems.
“It has been a very difficult week for everyone,” she said, “for businesses, for our staff, for events’ organisers and not least the community and our visitors. I think most of us are feeling that we cannot allow it to continue long-term.”
Councillor Steve Eva said: “We have got to make some hard decisions around this table. First thing is we have to get those gates open for Wednesday and we have to pay the money.
“What I don’t like is that Cornwall Council has suddenly decided toilets are money makers now and therefore they can charge what they like – that is their way of looking at it. Money is getting tighter all the time at Cornwall Council and we as a town council have got to decide what we want to be – a proper council and make very hard decisions or just plod along and blame Cornwall Council for everything, which won’t work.”
Councillor Trish Minson added: “They (the toilets) are not a convenience for the county council to make money on the back of. Our staff are working their butts off to provide very good events for this town and they (Cornwall Council) are reaping the rewards.”
Ms Atherton concluded: “I’m asking that you charge five of us to talk to Cornwall Council assertively and see where we can go. Cornwall Council has said they will renovate them if we took them over so we would start from a better place than we are now.
“I also do not think it would cost us as much as it costs Cornwall Council to run them. We should leave our options open.”
The council unanimously agreed to pay to have the charging gates open at Grove Place and on the pier today and also instructed the chair and vice chairman of its finance and general purposes committee, the mayor and his deputy and town clerk to meet with Cornwall Council to discuss the |long-term future of the toilets.
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