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Lostwithiel set to lose public toilets

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 06, 2013

  • Lostwithiel will lose its public rooms at th end of December.

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LOSTWITHIEL will lose its public toilets next month when they are closed by Cornwall Council.

The local authority has failed to agree terms with the town council, which had previously agreed to take over the facility in Church Lane. They will close at the end of December.

Lostwithiel councillors have blamed County Hall for the situation, claiming the council failed to carry out the necessary repairs to the toilets required by the town council before it took over responsibility for them.

Cornwall Council says the fault lies with the town council for not committing to take over the management of the toilets.

Town councillors are preparing themselves for a deluge of criticism from residents after insisting a near 100 per cent rise in the precept over the past two years was due in part to cover the costs of maintaining the toilets once it had taken ownership.

Lostwithiel Town Council's precept – the amount it charges residents for its services – went up from £56,579 in 2011-12 to £119,925 for 2013-14.

The council has estimated it would have cost it around £15,000 a year to maintain the public toilets.

Councillor Chris Jewels said the facilities at the moment were in a poor state of repair, and attacked the county authority for not keeping its side of the bargain.

"Despite all the promises over the past two years, it would appear Cornwall Council has reneged on everything it said it was going to do," he said. "Cornwall Council is now going to leave 3,500 people without a public convenience, which is an absolute disgrace – they have handled the situation appallingly."

Mr Jewels said the toilets were smelly, the drainage system should be condemned and the local authority had not made them fit for purpose, as it had promised to do.

"I feel Cornwall Council has just fobbed us off for two years and had no intention of doing anything (to the toilets)," he told a meeting of fellow councillors.

Local authorities do not have a statutory duty to provide public conveniences and Cornwall Council has been attempting to save money by offering them to town and parish councils to maintain at a sale price of just £1.

A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: "The offer to refurbish the facilities at Church Lane was dependent on Lostwithiel Town Council taking over responsibility for the toilets and as the town council has now decided that it does not wish to do this, we are left with little option but to close them.

"As the facilities are set to close in December, refurbishing them at this stage would not be the best use of taxpayers' money. However, we would be very happy to have further discussions with Lostwithiel Town Council to find a way forward," she said.

Adrian Barrett, chairman of the town's Business Group, said the closure was bad news for trade and for the town.

"It's vitally important Lostwithiel has public toilets," he said. "I get five or six people a day asking where the conveniences are.

"We get a lot of visitors, and hold events like Lost Fest and Carnival Week when public toilets are vital. The only facility in the centre of the town will be in the Co-op, and that's really for customers."

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  • TimHamer  |  November 08 2013, 2:32AM

    Speaking as A non resident of Lostwithiel, The only answer is to vote them out at the next election.

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  • JeremyBadger  |  November 06 2013, 2:16PM

    All down to stupid mistakes between two incompetent authorities. Regarding avoter2's comments I was always under the impression that the Town Council always held their official meetings in the Kings Arms, do they meet elsewhere then?

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  • rozel  |  November 06 2013, 12:12PM

    Having had association with Lostwithiel for over 65 years I must agree with "Avoter2" that the public toilets always left something to be desired concerning cleanliness. However, on balance something is better than nothing with the prospect that when the toilets are closed the town may well have to put up with persons urinating, and even defecating, in streets or other public places. As to Council business being discussed in the Kings Arm after meetings isn't it first decided at meetings of Restormel Lodge?

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  • avoter2  |  November 06 2013, 10:59AM

    As a resident of Lostwithiel, can I now presume that the Council Tax precept will now be reduced by the amount it was increased? The public toilets in Lostwithiel are a disgrace and in all the years I've lived here, have never once used them due to lack of cleanliness. Lostwithiel Town Council have yet once again LIED to the people of the this town.....resignations are required here now, once all the missing monies have been accounted for. The people in this town are being let down by the very people who say they have our interests at heart....shame on you Town Councillors.....how you can walk around this town with your heads up I'll never know. Can I suggest that if anyone wants to know what is happening in this town visit the Kings Arms Public House after the Council Meeting as thats where most of Council business takes place. Sit in a corner and listen to the conversation..its most enlightening!!

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