Members were presented with a report that updated them on the latest position in respect of the public toilet project and sought approval for the installation of Pay on Entry equipment in Kingsbridge and Totnes. The report also sought approval for the proposed approach in Salcombe as set out in the report.
The Lead Member for Commercial Services introduced the report, and in so doing asked that an additional recommendation be included, that the public conveniences at Manor Gardens, currently closed for the winter period, remain closed. The facilities were due to open from 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2019, but were now in a poor state of repair and would require capital spending to ensure they could be used. In view of the scheduled permanent closure, it was recommended that the facilities remain closed. The local Ward Member in attendance was in agreement with this proposal.
A number of Members stated their position that public toilets should not be closed. In response, the Lead Member advised that, taking expected closures into account, there were 35 public conveniences remaining open across the District.
One local Ward Member for Totnes sought to amend the recommendation related to Totnes public toilets, in light of the briefing note circulated to Members that updated the position. The Chief Executive explained that a formally agreed and minuted proposal was required and that had not yet been received. However, the recommendation had been written to enable progress to be made once the appropriate proposal had been received.
Finally, the Ward Member for Staverton asked for consideration to be given to the situation with the public toilets in Staverton, particularly in light of the recent closure of the neighbouring public house.
It was then:
1. That the installation of Pay on Entry (PoE) equipment at Fore Street public toilets, Kingsbridge be approved;
2. That the installation of PoE equipment at the three public toilets in Totnes (Civic Hall, Coronation Road and Steamer Quay) be approved, unless an alternative funding solution is offered by the Town Council by 28 February 2019. It is further recommended that the decision on any alternative funding solution offered by the Town Council is assessed for financial and operational viability by the Head of Environment Services Practice in conjunction with the Leader and Portfolio Holder (and following consultation with the local Ward Members) in order to ensure it provides adequate compensation for any income not generated through PoE;
3. That the proposed approach of Salcombe Town Council working in partnership with the Salcombe Harbour Board, to take over the management and running of the Salcombe Estuary Toilets for a two year trial period be approved. This proposal requires a transfer of the 2019/20 service budget to facilitate the pilot and, in the first year, includes a £9,000 contribution towards the roof repairs costs at Mill Bay. It is further recommended that the decision on whether any alternative funding solution offered by the Town Council is financially and operationally viable is taken by the Head of Environment Services Practice in conjunction with the Leader and Portfolio Holder;
4. That following further consultation, toilet services be retained at the following locations until 30 September 2019, where Parish Councils have decided against a full asset transfer
a. Newton Ferrers (Newton & Noss Parish)
5. That following further consultation, the public toilet service at Holbeton be retained until 30 September 2019 only, unless a full asset transfer is agreed by the Parish Council;
6. That the public toilets at Manor Gardens remain closed.