A fresh second homes row has broken out after a council in a Cornish holiday hotspot announced a new charge for public toilets – while keeping it free for permanent residents.

The plans were announced this week with tourists and non-permanent residents in St Ives being charged an extra 20p every time they use the loos.

St Ives Town Council owns eight public toilets around the west Cornwall town, including one which it lets out to a private operator.

They say it costs £135,000 a year to run all toilets in the town, with cleaning and maintenance being required, sometimes up to five times a day in peak season.

However, some fear the new rules threaten to drive a further wedge between temporary and permanent residents.

Town clerk Louise Dwelly said: "Many councils across the country are closing their public toilets because of the huge cost.

"But we understand the importance of public toilets to our visitor economy and this is not an option in a seaside town with beaches.

"Many councils in Cornwall have introduced charging to help pay these costs."

Several residents criticised the move with many calling the proposal a 'divisive one'.

One said: "Us Cornish are probably the most spiteful, unwelcoming nation I have ever came across.

"Sometimes I wonder why families would want to come here to spend their savings."

Another added: "Now you are taking the piss, the toilets should be free for all, the council make enough money from the car parks.

"Why are the Cornish trying their upmost to put people off coming there? They are starting to be so childish as adults.

"They have millions of pounds come off the tourists every year with out them most of business would close.

"Then you certainly would not be able to buy your own property as you keep saying."

Another added: "The council make lots of money off car park at least they can do is make the toilet free".

Another proposed a novel solution to the impact of tourists, posting: "Bring in tourist tax £7 a week. Then everyone can pee for free."

St Ives is described as one of the UK's tourism hotspots with visitors spending £85million per year to enjoy its sandy beaches. It attracts around 540,000 day visitors and more than 220,000 staying visitors every year.

In 2016 it became the first town to introduce a second home ban, which restricted the sale of new houses as second homes.

It was hoped that this would make housing more affordable for local people who were being priced out of the market by wealthy summer-dwellers.

But reports later claimed the reality of the ban had an opposite impact and only made the situation worse.