West Devon Council is reviewing its spending on public toilets and calling for ideas from all parishes on how to keep as many as possible open, or encourage alternative provision.
A decision was made this week that ways had to be found to save £50,000 on the cost of toilets next financial year.
Robert Sampson, the council’s leading spokesman for commercial services, said after the meeting:
“The Council has to respond to significant budget challenges. We are working hard to find savings from the public toilet budget by exploring different options for delivering the service.
“Consultation with the towns and parishes is paramount.
“Whilst no-one wants to see public toilets close, the running of the toilets has to be done in the most cost effective way. In some cases we find that the number of people using public toilets is reducing where alternative toilets are available, for instance near local supermarkets which have facilities.”
Council leader Philip Sanders said : “Our aim is to reduce the overall cost of providing public conveniences and we are saying that a traditional council-owned building might not always be the best way. Our aim is to work with communities to continue to offer toilets which the public have access to where they are needed”.
A number of public toilets are already being run by parish councils, using buildings which have been transferred from the borough council, and Princetown has pioneered a pay-on-entry system which has raised useful revenue and might be tried elsewhere.
The toilets at Bedford Bridge are among those which might be franchised out to the parishes and Horrabridge will probably be invited to talk with neighbouring parishes about taking them on.
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