Scarborough councillors back £1.8m plan to refurbish authority's public toilets

A plan to spend £1.8m on refurbishing Scarborough’s public toilets has been backed by councillors.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 9:20 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 9:21 am
West pier toilets. Picture: Richard Ponter/ JPI Media

Scarborough Council leader Cllr Steve Siddons (Lab) unveiled the new draft strategy last week by saying he wanted “every concerned resident and business” to have their say on the long-term vision.

The draft strategy involves refurbishing and, in once case, replacing some 30 toilets owned by the borough council, as well as looking as partnering with businesses to offer more places for people to spend a penny.

Today, the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board welcomed the draft strategy and endorsed its conclusions for the way ahead.

A report, prepared for the board, noted that many of the toilets in the borough were not in a good state.

The report added: “The condition of a large number of council toilets is very poor and many are in urgent need of repair, attracting substantial negative publicity and poor customer satisfaction.”

The new strategy proposes spending £1.1m on the toilets in 2020 and 2021.

A further £700,000 is then predicted by the authority to be needed between 2022 and 2025 in order to bring the facilities up to scratch.

The money will also be used to ensure that all toilets are maintained to a high standard and are accessible to all.

The strategy will also investigate the viability of a “community toilet scheme” where local shops, pubs and restaurants are paid between £500 and £1,000 a year to open their toilets to the public without an expectation of them having to make a purchase.

Signs would be put in the windows of businesses taking part to make people aware of which premises were taking part in the scheme.

Cllr Mike Cockerill (Cluster of Independent Members) said to his fellow councillors that he was both “relieved and most pleased” to find that no closures of toilets had been proposed as part of the strategy.

Board chairman Cllr Guy Coulson (Con) added: “I think the strategy as a whole is a very good way forward.”

Labour councillor Subash Sharma cautioned that the authority would have to be mindful of the price it charged for its pay-on-entry toilets, saying the current 40p charge may be too high.

The board voted unanimously to support the strategy.