South Hams Council, in Devon, is proposing to charge fees for 17 of its 41 public toilets.
The council currently spends nearly £1m a year on providing and maintaining the toilets, and must make a £226,000 saving next year. Toilets are not a statutory service and the council does not receive government funding to operate them.
The 17 busiest toilets will charge 20p on entry, and 15 more are planned to be moved to local town or parish council ownership. The remaining 9 are still under discussion, and will have to be closed if no arrangement is reached.
South Hams District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, Cllr Rufus Gilbert, added: "We’re facing harsh financial realities and we need to react sensibly to the future of the toilets in the South Hams.
"We are committed as a council to keeping toilet provisions open, but we have to be realistic about what we can manage with very tight purse strings. This consultation takes in the views of all our town and parish councils and asks them to work with us on agreeing a way forward that works for us all."
All disabled facilities will be fitted with RADAR key locks which will allow continued free access for those customers, a council spokesman added.
With no government funding for public toilets and a constant squeeze of their finances, is it any wonder that local councils across the whole country are struggling to fund public toilets?
A large number of public toilets can cost hundreds of thousands to keep in functional condition, so it makes sense that councils would consider charging entry in an attempt to get some money back.
Yes, nobody wants to pay a “fee to pee”, but when it comes down to a choice between shelling out or having no public toilets at all, installing a toilet turnstile is the obvious solution. This is where we at Toilet Turnstiles could really put our experience to good work.
Our toilet turnstiles are built from graded stainless steel, for easier cleaning and maintenance, and also come equipped with lockable lids to prevent unwanted access. Furthermore, the separate coin box offers very versatile mounting options, as it can be installed either in front of the turnstile, at the side or alternatively on the wall, with the cash box at the rear.
The turnstile’s coin mechanism can be programmed for virtually any combination of coins with a secure cash box to hold them, while the additional counters for the number of entrances will enable a thorough level of control and reporting ability over the system’s operation.
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