Looe Town Council decide to introduce a 20p entry fee for use of the seafront toilets in the town following a meeting on October 31.
These facilities are one of five sets of public toilets which are owned and managed by the town council and the cost of running all the sites amounts to over £120,000 each year.
Charging was successfully implemented at the Millpool toilets in Looe in 2021 at the rate of 20p per entry. Councillors have agreed to keep the fee at the same level at both the Millpool and seafront facilities. All the income generated from toilet entry fees will be used to offset the cost of running public toilets in the town and to fund repairs and refurbishments at the sites.
Looe Town Council also manages toilets near The Guildhall in East Looe, at West Looe Quay and at Hannafore sea front, and there are currently no plans to introduce entry fees at these sites. Disabled toilets, accessible by RADAR key, are also available at all five sets of public conveniences in the town free of charge.
The Mayor of Looe, Cllr Tony Smith, said: “As Councillors, in an ideal world we would all prefer to be able to continue to offer free use of public toilets in our town. However, the cost of running these facilities amounts to more than 1/3rd of Council’s budget and that doesn’t include the costs of any refurbishments or improvements to the buildings.
“Without charging entry fees, all these costs are met by the income we receive from residents’ Council Tax (about £24 per resident in 2022/23) although much of the use of our public toilets is by visitors to the town. Looe Town Council believe it is not unreasonable to ask all those using the facilities to make a small contribution to their upkeep and servicing. We hope that both residents and visitors will soon begin to see improvements to our facilities made possible by the income generated by entry fees.”
Toilet entry fees in Looe are payable by card only so that no cash is stored at the sites and there is no added cost for someone to collect and bank money.
People living in Looe can buy a ‘Residents Card’ which provides up to 30 toilet entries per month for a one-off fee of £5.
Lynda Powell, Town Clerk, explained: “Card and contactless systems are now widely accepted as a convenient way to pay, and it is a method available to everybody.
“Charging an entry fee for public toilets has been shown to reduce the amount of vandalism at premises and we would not want the storage of cash to counter this by inviting thefts or break-ins.
“We encourage those living in Looe who use the public facilities regularly and/or don’t use contactless payment methods to buy a Residents Card to make sure they’ve always got a means of getting into the toilets.”
Residents Cards can be purchased from Looe Library or the Town Council Offices at The Millpool, Looe.