Helston loos 'privy-tisation' plan
7:00am Friday 2nd November 2012 in Helston
Turnstiles, privatisation and sponsorship are among the options being discussed by Helston Town Council as a way of keeping the town’s public toilets open.
A special meeting of the council’s policy, finance and resources committee saw members discussing the future of the facilities, with toilets currently in Trengrouse Way, behind the Guildhall and next to the Gryll’s Monument. Cornwall Council has offered to continue running one set out of the three, with the remaining two being “mothballed.”
Alternatively the town council can take on one or more of the facilities, with Cornwall Council offering a grant of just under £9,300 towards the cost of running them. The chosen toilets will also be given full disability access and made Disability Discrimination Act compliant.
If the Monument toilets were selected these would also be fully refurbished. Mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby said: “Cornwall Council is not going to maintain three sets of public conveniences in the town and I think it would be folly for this council to simply look the other way. The time has come for us to make a decision.”
He believed it was “inevitable” that the Trengrouse Way toilets would have to close, but added: “It would be a great shame to see either the toilets here [at the Guildhall] or at the bottom of Coinagehall Street close.”
Councillor Niall Devenish feared that the cost to Helston Town Council of cleaning and maintaining the toilets would be higher than for Cornwall Council, as they took out a countywide contract to push down cost. He believed no decision should be made until research into costs could be carried out. Councillor Sue Swift said it had been suggested elsewhere that towns in West Cornwall could take out a joint cleaning contract to keep costs lower.
The possibility of businesses opening their facilities to members of the public was also being discussed, with Cornwall Council already in talks with a brewery chain. Councillor Keith Reynolds put forward the idea of taking responsibility for two of the facilities and then finding a private company to run them, as this could keep costs lower and was widely practised across Europe. At Mr Radford-Gaby’s suggestion it was agreed to explore this option, as well as Mr Reynolds’s idea to find sponsorship for one of the facilities, plus research charging for use.
This was with a view to the town council taking over the running of the Monument and Guildhall toilets, with further research over costs to be gathered over the next four weeks.
A suggestion by Councillor Mike Thomas, that the committee look at keeping the Guildhall and Monument toilets open full time but also open the Trengrouse Way facilities on events such as Flora Day and the Christmas lights switch on – when he suspected they were “used heavily” – failed to find support.