The Whitby Mayor has said that the town council's takeover of Whitby's toilets represents "an exciting new chapter" in the governance of the town, and "the first of many new chapters to come."
In a bold move, the town council will officially become the new custodians for Whitby's loos this weekend, after agreeing terms with the borough council.
And the Mayor, Cllr Noreen Wilson, says the council is "confident" the move is an affordable one: “Whitby Town Council recognised the importance of public toilets for residents and visitors in a busy resort town like Whitby and the need for those facilities to be welcoming as well as functional. Although this is a significant new venture for us, we are confident we have found a cost neutral solution for our taxpayers and that we can work with our contractors, Danfo, to provide facilities maintained to a high standard, which will be a credit to our beautiful town."
She added: "We thank Scarborough Borough Council for the opportunity to undertake this exciting new chapter in Whitby Town Council’s contribution to operating services in Whitby for Whitby, and we hope this will only be the first of many new chapters to come.”
From tomorrow, the town council will be responsible for the operation, management, maintenance and upkeep of the public toilets at Whitby Abbey car park, Market Place, New Quay Road and West Cliff, as well as the brand new toilets recently completed on Pier Road and those at Ruswarp.
A mix of freehold and leasehold terms has been agreed for the transfers.
Borough council leader, Cllr Derek Bastiman, insisted that the financial difficulties facing toilet provision in the borough were "no fault" of Scarborough Council, he said: “Against a backdrop of financial constraints, brought about through no fault of our own, we have spent a long time looking at how we can ensure the continuation of sustainable toilet service provision in our key resort areas. This includes, in some cases, devolution of responsibility to the wider public or private sectors, together with financial contributions from the borough council to ensure successful transfers."
The keys for the toilets will be officially handed over to the Mayor by borough council cabinet member, Cllr Mike Cockerill, outside the new Pier Road toilets, in advance of the transfer coming into effect. The borough council has also made a capital payment of £25,000 to the town council as part of the transfer of the toilets.
Cllr Bastiman added that the working relationship represents a positive step forward for both councils: "We are delighted that Whitby Town Council has agreed to become the new custodian of the majority of the town’s toilets and has chosen a highly regarded private sector provider to help deliver the service.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the town council on the transfer in such a professional and responsible way, which I see as a really positive step forward. Both councils have acted in the best interests of the town by recognising the need for new ways of working to ensure the toilet facilities stay open. I wish the town council all the best in delivering this important service for local residents and the many thousands of visitors that Whitby attracts every year."
Danfo will carry out the day to day operation and maintenance of the toilets, fulfilling the service through its Sani Rent package.
A spokesperson for Danfo added: “We are delighted and are exceptionally proud to be part of such an exciting partnership with Whitby Town Council and will be working on an improvement programme, which will enhance the facilities and improve the visitor experience. We will also be responsible for the daily cleaning and maintenance of these facilities and will carry this out with diligence.
“Danfo is a long-established company specialising in the delivery and management of high quality public conveniences and we are looking forward to providing an award winning public convenience service for both the residents and visitors of Whitby.”
Cllr Derek Bastiman also paid tribute to the Scarborough Borough Council staff that have looked after the facilities in the town for many years. He said: “I’d like to express my sincere thanks to our public convenience staff for their years of dedicated service and wish them well in pursuing their successful careers elsewhere within the council.”
Scarborough Borough Council maintains responsibility for the public toilets at the Beach Management Centre, Marina car park and Whitby Cemetery.