St Ives Town Council owns eight public toilets in the town, one of which it leases from a private operator
Tourists in St Ives will now have to pay for using public toilets in the area, while locals will be able to bypass the fee.
All toilets in the area were traditionally free, but the local authority is now looking to recoup money from them.
St Ives Town Council owns eight public toilets in the town, one of which it leases from a private operator.
The running costs of the facilities cost the council dearly each year due to maintenance, water and cleaning bills that run into the thousands each year.
According to the city council, it costs £135,000 a year to run all the toilets in the city, excluding the labor costs of staff to carry out the tasks required for the facilities.
In high season they are open from dawn to dusk and are cleaned five times a day.
According to local authorities, vandalism has also increased in recent years in the area, and charging tourists for the use of toilets will also help defray the costs involved.
Town Clerk Louise Dwelly said: “Many councils across the country are closing their public toilets due to the huge cost.
“But we understand how important public toilets are to our visitor economy and that’s not an option in a seaside town with beaches.
“Many Cornish councils including Penzance, Looe, Newquay, Falmouth, St Mawes, Boscastle have introduced charging to help pay for these costs.”
From this summer, tourists will have to pay to use the facilities, while locals will not be subject to the decision as they already pay water, council tax and precept in order to help maintain services .
Ms Dwelly told CornwallLive: ‘Local residents are already paying all these costs through their council tax and we don’t want them paying twice.
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The decline in coin usage and the growing use of contactless payments gave the council the idea and the means to make it easier to pay to use public toilets, Ms Dwelly said.
She added that only those who have their primary address in St Ives and pay council tax in the area will be able to take advantage of the service for free.
The city council said it was still finalizing details of the new touchless toilets and looking for ways to ensure second home owners or holiday rental users could not use the facilities.
Ms Dwelly said: “If and when the scheme is rolled out to all facilities in 2023-2024, residents will be able to apply for a prepaid card to access facilities for free.
“This is how the 550,000 day visitors and the 220,000 overnight visitors can contribute to the city’s operating costs.”
Ms Dwelly added that the program will first be tested at two of the sites before rolling out to the others later this year.