Porthleven 'held to ransom' over toilet closures
12:00pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
Porthleven’s Cornwall councillor has accused the authority of holding the town council to ransom over the closure of public toilets.
Cllr Andrew Wallis, said that in his view Cornwall Council was “off-loading these facilities in a rather tactless way” after he claimed the authority had simply said ‘take them over or we will close them'.
He said: “It is pretty hard for a town or parish council to negotiate with both hands tied behind their backs while having to hop. I should say in fairness to Cornwall Council, they have agreed to give a two-year grant to Porthleven Town Council to ‘help’ with the running.
“This is the running costs of one toilet, plus 50 per cent of the cleaning cost. It should be noted that this is only for one toilet, as the other gets no grant. “They will hopefully refurbish the toilets to a standard that is agreeable to the town council, and not just Cornwall Council. There will be a yearly rent of £1 too.”
He added the choice of whether to take them both over or just one was a hard one for the town council, as if the town council takes them over residents would see an increase in the town council precept to fund them, while not seeing a reduction in the overall council. The other choice would see one shut for good.
Despite highlighting the importance of keeping both toilets open, and pointing out it should not be the town council who has to run them, he said that Cornwall Council’s response had been, ‘There is no money to pay for them’.
He also questioned the council’s argument that the toilets were not statutory, saying: “Car parking is not statutory, but you do not see a rush to off-load these.”
Mr Wallis said: “I wish it was simple just to call Cornwall Council’s bluff and see if they will close them. However, that would not achieve anything but seeing a toilet close. That will harm Porthleven for both residents and visitors.”
The toilet currently earmarked for closure is on Harbour Road. Mr Wallis said that the town council was now trying to get the best grant and refurbishment it could. Once this had been agreed in principle, the town council will be holding a mini-referendum on the proposals to give residents and business of Porthleven their say.