Portishead left without public loos 'within weeks'
By Prue_Reid | Tuesday, March 05, 2013, 19:28
PORTISHEAD could be left without public toilets in just a few weeks unless a deal is struck between the town and district council about who is to run them.
Spending a penny in Portishead could prove problematic if the town's public conveniences close
North Somerset Council is to withdraw the £400,000 it costs to run all of the 29 public toilets across the district, including the ones at Wyndham Way and the Lake Grounds, from Monday, April 1.
But a deal has yet to be struck between the town council and North Somerset about who will run the conveniences.
And unless the situation is resolved in the next six weeks, both the loos will close - leaving Portishead, which has a population of around 22,000 without any public conveniences.
Other town and parish councils have already agreed to take over the running of loos in their areas.
But councillors in Portishead say both sets of conveniences are in such a poor state of repair that work needs to be done to bring them up to an acceptable standard before a takeover can be agreed.
North Somerset Council has cash available to help town and parish councils take over assets such as toilets which could be used to upgrade the conveniences.
But the town council would have to agree to take ownership of the loos before the cash would be available to carry out the work.
If a takeover deal is struck the town council could then lease the running of the toilets to a concessionaire or operate them itself.
A concessionaire has already come forward willing to take over a number of loos in North Somerset, but has said it would introduce charging to help cover the running costs of the conveniences.
A special device would be fitted in the loos where people would have to pay before they answered the call of nature.
Now town leaders are asking North Somerset to cut through the red tape and carry out the work itself ahead of any takeover being agreed.
Councillor Arthur Terry said: "It is important to keep the toilets but we need to get them into a reasonable condition before Councillor David Pasley said: " If the money is going to be made available to the town council to upgrade the toilets I do not see why North Somerset just don't appoint a contractor and get the work done.
"It just seems like needless red tape.
"We have not got long to sort this matter out.
"Funding runs out on April 1 and we have six weeks to come to some sort of agreement with North Somerset.
"If we don't there is a risk that Portishead could be left without public toilets."
The move comes at the same time as Portishead Senior Citizens Forum made an empassioned plea to the town council to ensure public loos remained in the town.