Toilets could face closure unless parish councils step in

Public toilets
Public toilets

Dozens of public toilets along the Scarborough coast will be offered to parish and town councils to run in a bid to save money.

Scarborough Council, which runs 38 public conveniences across 45 miles of coastline, including in Filey, Scarborough and Whitby, warned that if an agreement is not reached with the local councils some toilets face closure.

The warning comes in the wake of a recent national survey which ranked the borough as second only to London in the tourist popularity stakes.

Nick Edwards, the authority’s director of business services, states in a report to its Cabinet: “The council is facing significant budget pressures and an approach which encourages partnership working, direct charging and private sector funding of toilets must now be utilised to provide public toilets.”

He said talks are underway with local councils to take over the toilets as part of a five year plan. “Significant investment” is needed to bring some of the toilets up to an acceptable standard.

The report said: “Providing public conveniences is a non-statutory function for local authorities. However Scarborough Council recognises the importance they have for the area.”

Talks have been held with several parish councils in the North York Moors National Park as well as Whitby and Filey town councils.

The council has just agreed to have the toilet block at Khyber Pass Whitby redeveloped, and for a new complex to be built on the harbourside

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

Portfolio holder Cllr Andrew Jenkinson said toilets were an “emotive” subject.

He said: “The options are, this order, implement entry charges, devolve to town and parish council, refurbish, close, this is a pyramid in reverse and proves we are looking to deliver a service to be proud of.”

Parish and town councils have until October 31 to submit a plan for toilets in their areas.