Sidmouth: District council publishes public toilet consultation statistics

  Posted: 01.12.21 at 07:00 by Will Goddard

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East Devon District Council has now published the statistics of a major public toilet consultation which saw almost 1,300 people respond.

The consultation on what to do with the existing loos, which ran in August and September this year, comes after the council said that it could not afford to pay for them.

The district council divided the 27 public toilets in the district into three categories, and suggested that they either be refurbished (Category A), turned into something else such as a café but still with public access (Category B), or offer them to a town council/community group or remove them (Category C).

The stats

Contactless payments

The option to pay for using the toilets was supported by 56 per cent of respondents.

Based on residents' opinions, this could be a 30p contactless payment - but more than 40 per cent said there should be a discount card for people who can’t afford it or have medical needs.

It has been estimated that this option could generate £200k per year.

Sidmouth

In Sidmouth, 58 per cent of people didn't agree with the Market Place/Port Royal toilets being in Category B (for transformation, but with public access).

It was noted from feedback that both of the toilets were need and well used. Some said that the Triangle loos should be closed, and the Market Place/Port Royal toilets kept open instead.

The district council has said that it will talk to Sidmouth Town Council before categories are finalised.

What's next?

The district council's cabinet is going to review some recommendations made next week.

These include:

1. Taking into account water usage data to see how popular the loos are;
2. Offering town councils a final opportunity to take on Cat. B and C toilets, if leases with community group cannot be struck within 12 months;
3. Having the council encourage local businesses to take them on for non-paying customers who may have disabilities and illnesses that aren’t always visible;
4. Charging for Cat. A toilets to cover refurbishment costs;
5. Writing to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that he lobbies the treasury for a fund to be created to help councils further invest in public toilet provision and to make toilets a mandatory rather than discretionary service.

Which categories are Sidmouth's public toilets in?

The public toilets identified for the 'A' category (i.e. to be improved) are in:

- Connaught Gardens (Running costs £28,251.07/year);

- Triangle (Running costs £22,100.20/year);

- Market Place and Port Royal, depending on redevelopment or new alternative provision (Running costs £40,588.09/year for the Market Place and £7,407/year for Port Royal);

The 'B' category:

- Market Place. 'Significant redevelopment opportunity as town centre site' (Running costs £40,588.09/year);

- Port Royal (Alma Bridge). 'Potential for commercial use tied to Port Royal' (Running costs ££7,407/year).

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