The charge was agreed at tonight’s East Lindsey District council Executive Board meeting at Louth Town Hall.
In a statement following the decision, the council explained it needed to reduce its running costs by £3m to £4m, as Government funding to support local services continues to reduce.
Earlier this year the council consulted on its Transformation Programme, which includes reducing the operating costs of its 24 public toilets. Introducing a charge at 13 public toilets will generate in the region of £217,000 per year from 2018/19. At present the public toilets cost around £542,000 per year to run.
The entry charge will be introduced at five blocks of public toilets in Skegness - North Parade, Tower Esplanade, Briar Way, Tower Gardens and Lumley Square. The ones in Princes Parade are now closed.
Over the past few years, the Council has already spent £453,000 refurbishing six Public Toilets in Skegness, Louth, Mablethorpe and Wragby.
Portfolio Holder for Operational Services, Councillor Sandra Harrison, said: “I’d like to thank the Parish Council Chairman and Clerks for their time in meeting with me to discuss the planned charges. The District Council is focussing its resources on the provision of access to good quality Public Toilets in key locations for the benefit of local people and visitors. Given the financial pressures faced, the Board felt a 20p charge was a better way forward than reducing the number of toilets provided in these locations.
“The option to charge for the use of Public Toilets is not a new concept with many neighbouring Council areas already having similar arrangements in place.”
For the 11 remaining public toilets in Burgh le Marsh, Coningsby, Horncastle, Spilsby, Anderby Creek, Huttoft, Ingoldmells, Woodhall Spa, Wainfleet, and Wragby, formal discussions will take place with the relevant Town and Parish Councils to identify opportunities for asset transfer and/or local management. This includes Alford’s public toilet which is leased to the Town Council.
Earlier today, residents commented on our online story about the charges, with many complaining about how dirty they are.
Joan Parr said: “I tried to use the toilets at the Hildred car park yesterday lunchtime. First one was one smeared with, yes you can imagine. Second one, no lock. Two more, no paper. Another, bowl full of paper.
“Needless to say I waited until I got elsewhere. Also someone was trying to wash her hands and found two soap dispensers empty.”
Joanne Smith agreed: “Absolutely filthy toilets in Hildreds Centre. Smell foul and never cleaned.
“Don’t mind paying if they are cleaned regularly. Always says ‘attendant on duty’ but you never see one. Absolutely disgusting.”
Lynne Sollis asked: “How the **** can they expect us to pay to use filthy toilets. Totally disgusting.”
And Gary Martin added: “Taking the p**s.”
However other readers said they wouldn’t mind paying if the toilets were clean. Phil Kemp said: “A charge can be made that pays for the staff to be on hand to keep the loos clean.
“It is sometimes a lit more practical that having to use a council vehicle to travel around the loos in the area giving a quick clean.
“Experience has shown it can work and make money.”
We’ll bring more reaction on this as we get it.