Tourists to be charged to use toilets but not locals in seaside town
Tourists visiting a popular Westcountry seaside destination will now have to pay to use public toilets – but they will still be free for locals. Visitors to St Ives in Cornwall must now spend money to access the facilities, reports Cornwall Live. The town council owns eight public toilets around the west Cornwall town including one which it lets out to a private operator.
All public toilets have been free to use for years but they cost the local authority around GBP135,000 a year to run due to the water, maintenance and cleaning costs, and that sum does not include the labour costs of staff carrying out repairs. The facilities are open from dawn until dusk, and in high season they need to be cleaned five times a day. The authority said asking visitors to pay to use them will help pay for vandalism repairs, which have increased over the past few years.
: The must-see villages near Bristol you won’t need a car to get to 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 including Penzance, Looe, Newquay, Falmouth, St Mawes, Boscastle have introduced charging to help pay these costs.” Mrs Dwelly said that the pandemic and the increasing use of contactless payment facilities rather than cash gave the town council the idea, as it is now easier to pay to use the public loos. There will be no cash or coin options but people can use their smart phone, bank card or purchase a pre-payment card.
The council says this will make the facilities safer and less prone to theft and vandalism because there will be no cash on site. Mrs Dwelly also said that under the scheme only those with a primary residence in the town who pay their council tax in St Ives will get to use the toilets for free, and added: “Local residents already pay for all these costs through their council tax and we don’t want them to pay twice.” The town council said it is still finalising the details of the new contactless toilets but is looking at ways to ensure second homeowners or holiday let users cannot use their temporary St Ives address or share any access codes with their Airbnb customers, so public toilets are only genuinely free for locals.
Mrs Dwelly said: “If and when the scheme is rolled out across all the facilities in 2023-24, residents will be able to apply for a pre-payment card to access the facilities for free.
This is a way in which the 550,000 day visitors and 220,000 staying visitors can contribute to the town’s running costs.”
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