Business venture could stop public toilet closures

West Pier Toilets possible changes.. pic Richard Ponter 160705
West Pier Toilets possible changes.. pic Richard Ponter 160705

Businesses could be asked to run toilets in the borough, the council has revealed.

Scarborough Borough Council is to go out to consultation on a plan to overhaul its stock of public conveniences.

Included in the plan is a move to make a number of the borough’s toilets pay on entry via a turnstile system, which would save money through the elimination of the attendant roles currently occupied.

Some of the toilets that are deemed not to be cost effective could also close and be demolished.

The proposal was sent out to consultation by Scarborough Council’s cabinet at a meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday.

The council currently owns and operates 38 public toilets throughout the borough, and a number of the village toilets will be offered to the parish councils to run.

The report noted: “The provision of public toilets in separate buildings has been the typical model for many decades; however, this may not be an appropriate model to be employed for the future.

“The borough council is facing significant budget pressures and an approach which encourages partnership working, direct charging and private sector funding must now be utilised to secure a sustainable future for the provision of publicly accessible toilets.”

The toilets at Scarborough’s St Nicholas Gardens, West Pier and North Bay, and Whitby’s New Quay Road facility will have turnstiles installed.

The council will also explore the option of installing “external door pay on entry systems” for the following toilets: Ravine Road, Filey; Royal Parade, Filey; Station Avenue, Filey; Marina Public Toilets, Whitby; Market Place, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay Bank Bottom, Robin Hood’s Bay.

The remaining toilets will be offered to parish councils to run.

Councillors could also remove all existing concessions for the use of pay on entry toilets in a bid to raise more money.

One of the more left-field suggestions is for private sector businesses to take over toilets.

The report added: “This approach would look for organisations to retain toilet facilities for public use as well as developing a commercial opportunity for individual sites.

“Such an approach would seek expressions of interest from the private sector for individual facilities which might result in up to 75 per cent of the asset being used to raise the funds required to retain the other 25 per cent as publicly accessible toilets. Tenderers may wish to simply implement an entry charge or a facilitator may wish to re-develop part of the site, subject to appropriate planning constraints, on a commercial basis.”