Survey shows it costs council eight pence per visit to use Lake Grounds toilets
By Prue_Reid | Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 15:52
ANSWERING the call of nature at the toilets at Portishead's Lake Grounds costs the council eight pence per visit.
Spending a penny in North Somerset costs more than you think
And using the loos at Wyndham Way costs 17 pence per visit.
North Somerset Council has been surveying usage of public loos across the district, fitting devices to all 29 conveniences to ascertain how many people are using them.
The survey comes at the same time as the council is planning to withdraw the £400,000 each year it spends on running public loos by April 2013.
Instead the authority is talking to town and parish councils about the possibility of taking over the toilets.
Portishead Town Council has yet to make a decision on whether to take over both sets of loos – the only public conveniences in the town.
Those which have a high useage could be offered to private contractors to run, who will charge a fee to the general public to use them.
The most cost effective loos are at the Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare at six pence a visit while the loos at Burrington cost an average of nine pence per visit, along with the conveniences at Royal Sands, Weston while the loos at Sand Bay cost 11 pence a visit.
The costs of the toilets are made up of contractual costs, sewage rates, water rates, council rates, repairs and maintenance and electricity.
Fourteen of the loos are in the north of the district while the remaining 15 are in the Weston-super-Mare and Worle areas.
Most of the loos open between 8am and 8pm while some are open 24 hours and others closed during the winter months.
They are cleaned at least once a day with attendants on hand at our busier sites.
North Somerset Council spokesman, Nick Yates, said: "We are working with the town and parish councils on possible transfer of toilets and the costs shown are likely to go down as a significant cost for us is cleaning which, if transferred, could be provided locally, saving money.
Other towns and cities across the world - including London - have pay as you go loos on the streets.
The council, which has no statutory duty to provide public conveniences, has already closed seven public loos in Banwell, Backwell, Clevedon, Portishead, Uphill and Weston as part of a cost cutting review.
A report on the useage and costs has already been considered by the authority's Community and Corporate Organisation (COCO) scrutiny panel which supported moves to hand over conveniences to town and parish councils.
A full report and recommendation is due to go to the council's executive in February.