Agenda item

Plan for the Provision of Public Conveniences - Update

To consider the report of the Director (NE) (reference 17/113), attached. 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 17/113) providing an update of the plan for the provision of public conveniences in the Borough.  Introducing the report, the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Jenkinson countered comments in a recent letter in the Whitby Gazette that the reputation of the Borough was at stake by losing its first class status as a holiday destination.  With reference to the new Tourist Information Centre in Whitby, he noted that to date the usage figures were very encouraging.  In respect of public conveniences in Whitby, he welcomed Whitby Town Council’s participation in securing their future and the Council’s investment in these facilities including the new public toilets at Khyber Pass.  In respect of other facilities, he maintained that it would be prohibitively expensive to provide temporary public conveniences on Royal Albert Drive, and drew Members’ attention to the new public toilets in Scarborough Market Hall.  He paid tribute to the staff who worked in the service noting that these proposals would improve their working environment and that there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the plan.  A proportion of the proposed 40 charge would be reinvested in the maintenance of the service to ensure its sustainability.  Finally, Councillor Jenkinson noted the Overview and Scrutiny’s Board thorough review of, and support for the plan.  The Director, Mr Edwards then reminded the meeting of the background of the plan and its purpose: the complete transformation of the public convenience service both to improve its quality and to make its sustainable through the four phase hierarchical approach of:

           Consider a business case for the implementation of pay-on-entry

           Devolve the provision of certain toilets to Town and Parish Councils

           Engage with the private sector to redevelop toilet facilities

           Close (last resort)

This plan needed to be set within the current context of a service which provided a range of facilities of very mixed quality and cost the Council £0.5m a year.  The report marked the end of Phase 1 and the recommendation that several facilities be considered for Phase 2 where further work was required.  The proposals included that £207k be used from the Investment Fund to redevelop a range of public conveniences across the Borough, including on Vincent Pier as part of the provision of new harbour facilities.  Mr Edwards then summarised the recommendations in the report.  Members welcomed the report and the efforts of officers and others, including parish councils in bringing these proposals to fruition.  The proposed 40p charge was deemed reasonable to help support a sustainable maintenance regime.  The Chairman echoed these comments, noting in particular the mature engagement of Whitby Town Council in this process.  Councillor Chatt commended the new disabled toilets in the Scarborough Market Hall, expressing the aspiration that changing facilities also be developed for disabled people in the same location.  The Chairman added that such facilities for disabled people would be provided at the Leisure Village.  Councillor Cockerill then put questions about the public conveniences at Runswick Bay Bank Top, Robin Hoods Bay Bank Bottom, and St Helen’s Square, also noting that the new harbour facilities at Vincent Pier may include provision for vessels to discharge their foul water in accordance with the Revised Bathing Water Directive.  In relation to staffing, Mr Edwards confirmed that the new pay on entry superloos proposed would not be attended, but there was sufficient flexibility in the service to avoid any enforced redundancies.  With the permission of the Chairman, Councillor Cluer addressed the meeting, lamenting that any public conveniences had to close, but noting the difficult economic environment in which councils operated.  Mr Edwards clarified that the new public toilets in the Market Hall would have the same opening times as the building.  Councillor Mortimer also addressed the meeting, noting the many years the Council had spent grappling with this issue, commending the maintenance provisions in the plan, voicing her opposition to the possible closure of the facilities in the Station Car Park in Robin Hoods Bay (which were part of Phase 2), and welcoming the proposed investment in the facilities at Bank Bottom in the same village.  The Chairman ended the discussion by commending the proposals in the report which sought to address a difficult and longstanding issue through a clear strategy and implementation plan based on improving the quality of public conveniences whilst making them sustainable into the future.

RESOLVED that the Cabinet:

a)    Note project progress and approve an extension to the project timeline to deliver stage two.

b)    Approve the transfer of the toilets identified in paragraph 5.13 to Whitby Town Council together with a capital payment of £25,000 from the Investment Fund.

c)    Approve the transfer of Cayton Bay toilets to Cayton Parish Council together with a capital payment of £5,000 from the Investment Fund.

d)    Approve the payment of £5,000 from the Investment Fund to Eskdaleside-cum-Ugglebarnby Parish Council.

e)    Approve the closure of Runswick Bay Bank Top, Lealholm, Danby, St Helen’s Square and Holbeck Clock toilets.

f)     Approve expenditure of £207,000 from the Investment Fund to redevelop toilets at: North Bay, St Nicholas and West Pier attended toilets; Vincent Pier; Staithes Bank Top; Robin Hoods Bay bank bottom; Sandsend North.

g)    To introduce a charge of 40p at the pay on entry public conveniences.

 

Reasons

The recommendations move forwards the delivery stage of the Borough Council’s plan for the provision of public conveniences.  The recommendations move forwards the delivery stage of the Borough Council’s plan for the provision of public conveniences.

 

 

Supporting documents: