Tourists using toilets in seaside town told to pay up but locals can wee for free
Visitors to a popular seaside town will soon have to pay for the use of public toilets - but there will be no charge for residents. The plan to charge tourists in St Ives, Cornwall is intended to cover the costs of water, maintenance and cleaning, along with repairing damage caused by vandals.
The town council said it currently costs £135,000 a year to run all toilets in the town. It owns eight public toilets around the resort, including one which it lets out to a private operator.
All of the public toilets have been free to use for many years and are open from dawn until dusk. In high season they need to be cleaned five times a day, Cornwall Live reports.
Town clerk Louise Dwelly said: "Many councils across the country are closing their public toilets because of the huge cost. But we understand the importance of public toilets to our visitor economy and this is not an option in a seaside town with beaches.
"Local residents already pay for all these costs through their council tax and we don’t want them to pay twice."
She said other councils in Cornwall, including Penzance, Looe and Newquay, had also brought in charges to help cover the costs of having public toilets. Under the scheme only those with a primary residence in the town who pay their council tax in St Ives will get to use the toilets for free.
There will be no cash or coin options but people can use their smartphone or bank card to pay. There will also be pre-payment cards.
The details of the scheme are still being finalised. The town council said it is looking at ways to ensure second home owners or holiday let users cannot use their temporary St Ives address or share any access codes with their Airbnb customers.
Mrs Dwelly said: “If and when the scheme is rolled out across all the facilities in 2023-24, residents will be able to apply for a pre-payment card to access the facilities for free. This is a way in which the 550,000 day visitors and 220,000 staying visitors can contribute to the town’s running costs."
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