A council has defended plans to charge tourists to use the town’s public toilets while letting locals enter for free.
Visitors will now have to pay if they want to spend a penny at the popular surfing hot spot in St Ives, Cornwall.
The controversial plan will require residents to apply for a prepaid card to access facilities for free, CornwallLive reports.
The idea was criticized by businesses who feared tourists would come.
St Ives City Council has eight public toilets in the west of the county, including one it leases from a private operator – and all toilets in the area have been free to use for years.
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But the council says it is costing the local authority a fortune to manage water, maintenance and cleaning bills of around £135,000 a year.
This, they say, includes cleaning, utilities and maintenance, but excludes the labor costs of our staff to carry out repairs.
They are open from dawn to dusk and in high season they must be cleaned five times a day.
Town Clerk Louise Dwelly said: “Many councils across the country are closing their public toilets due to the huge cost.
“But we understand how important public toilets are to our visitor economy and that’s not an option in a seaside town with beaches.
“Many Cornish councils including Penzance, Looe, Newquay, Falmouth, St Mawes, Boscastle have introduced charging to help pay for these costs.”
So from this summer to use the facilities that people will have to pay for and to make sure it’s fair to locals who are already paying more for water, council tax and precept to maintain these services in operation, going to pee will be free.
Ms Dwelly added: “Local residents are already paying for all these costs through council tax and we don’t want them paying twice.
“Toilet recharging is easier after the pandemic, when the vast majority of people have become very accustomed to cashless transactions. There will be no cash/coin options, but people can use their smartphones, their bank card or buy a prepaid card.
“This means the facilities will be more secure and less prone to theft and vandalism than if there were cash on site.
“If and when the program is rolled out to all facilities in 2023-24, residents will be able to apply for a prepaid card for free access to facilities. This is how the 550,000 day visitors and the 220,000 overnight visitors can contribute to the city’s operating costs. »
She said that under the scheme only those who have a primary residence in the town and pay council tax in St Ives will be able to use the toilets free of charge.