Agenda item

Public conveniences

To consider the report of the Director (NE) (reference 19/134) attached.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 19/134) in respect of public conveniences provision on Royal Albert Drive and the South Cliff.  Members were reminded of the Council’s current plan for the provision of public conveniences which had been subject to extensive public consultation and the initial delivery phase of which was approved in April 2017.  The plan which was developed in the context of severe budgetary pressures and many existing public conveniences in a poor condition, set out a clear vision ‘To adopt a sustainable approach to public convenience provision in the Borough of Scarborough that positively contributes to public health, well-being and the prosperity of the community.’  Supporting this vision were a number of key aims:

·         To facilitate the provision of public conveniences directly, through partnership and through devolution of responsibility to the wider public and private sectors.

·         To ensure that all facilities are maintained to a high standard, accessible to all and effectively signposted and promoted.

·         To ensure that public conveniences are delivered in a sustainable manner with due regard to affordability and the environment.

Hitherto, as a consequence of the plan, a new facility had been developed in Whitby, responsibility for running public toilets in Whitby had been devolved to the Town Council, and linked public toilet/harbour user facilities had been provided at Scarborough Harbour.  However, as the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Jefferson had alluded to, there was considerable public demand to replace the facilities lost on Royal Albert Drive and the South Cliff, and the planned developments to provide these replacements were taking too long to come to fruition.  The report before Members was therefore an interim measure to help meet this public demand in time for the summer season, whilst Phase 2 of the review was expected to come to the Cabinet later in the year.  The cost of these proposals amounted to £51k, a significant proportion of which was to connect the Royal Albert Drive temporary facilities to the sewer.  Councillor Colling raised concerns that savings of £58k were still to be realised through the Phase 2 review and that as a result, other facilities were at risk of closure.  She noted too that market testing was last undertaken in 2013, and that councils employed a range of models to deliver these services.  She therefore proposed that the Council return to the market to explore the options available.  The Director, Mr Edwards reminded the meeting that the current plan was not about closing toilets, but about delivering a sustainable service to a high standard within the Council’s resources.  He acknowledged that this detailed work was still to be done in Filey, and there was more work to do in Scarborough, but he was happy to work with the new administration to investigate options to deliver the best outcomes for the Borough.  With the permission of the Chairman, other councillors addressed the meeting.  Councillor Heritage noted the popularity of the skate park on Marine Drive and the area as a place to walk for older people.  The lack of facilities deterred these users.  Councillor Coulson made the case for public conveniences in rural areas, where in some cases the local parish council had assumed responsibility for running the facilities.  Mr Edwards confirmed that the previous review had looked at this delivery model which had been adopted in some villages.  Councillor Donohue-Moncrieff noted the challenge of providing public conveniences with reducing budgets, but felt that in some cases, the reviews could have been conducted more sensitively.  She wondered how the reversal of the decision to close, and the exception made in respect of  these two facilities in the report and the  £51k cost of the proposals would play out in the rest of the Borough, when the plan for public conveniences was still being implemented, and how the proposals would be funded.  In reply, Mr Edwards accepted that there were lessons to be learned from Phase 1 of the public conveniences review and that he would have hoped that the new facilities on Royal Albert Drive could have been delivered more quickly.  However, these interim proposals represented a response to public demand, and the £51k could be afforded because savings from the plan had been realised more quickly than expected, with the caveat that the budgetary position would require review by the end of the year, and there was a risk that not all the £300k projected savings would be delivered.  He would continue to engage with councillors, the public and other stakeholders through Phase 2 of the review.  The Chairman ended by noting that the £51k sum included a contingency which may or may not be used, and the public consultation from 2017 highlighted issues around demand for public toilets in Scarborough that the Cabinet was now addressing through this report.

RESOLVED that the Cabinet:

a)     Approve the installation of a temporary public convenience on Royal Albert Drive for the 2019 summer tourist season (until the end of September 2019 subject to appropriate planning consent).

 

b)     Re-open and refurbish the Holbeck Clock public convenience.

 

c)     Approve £51k of one off costs to deliver the above noting the effect that it will have on the 2019/20 projected outturn position.

 

d)     Note, the potential for budgetary growth in the 20/21 Medium Term Financial Strategy should the full budgetary savings from public conveniences not be achieved.    

 

Reasons

To provide and reinstate public toilets on Royal Albert Drive and in South Cliff Gardens near Holbeck Clock.

Supporting documents: