A council in Britain is standing by its plans to make tourists pay to use the town's public toilets, while the locals can still use them for free.
It's been reported that people who visit the popular surfing hotspot at St Ives, Cornwall, will have to cough up the cash if they want to use the loos.
According to CornwallLive the plans, which have divided opinions, will mean residents will have to apply for a pre-payment card to enable them to use the toilets for free.
But the idea has come under fire, with businesses claiming it could prevent tourists from wanting to visit the area.
In total, St Ives Town Council owns eight public toilets in the west the county area – and one of these is let out to a private operator. All the loos in the area have remained free for people to use for years.
Despite this, it's claimed by the council that it's costing the authority too much money to keep them running, as the bills covering water, maintenance and cleaning are coming in at around £135,000 each year.
The council says this amount also incorporates things such as cleaning, utilities and maintenance but doesn't include the cost of repairs.
During the busy season the loos are open from dawn until dusk, and are required to be scrubbed up to five times a day. 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. Many councils in Cornwall including Penzance, Looe, Newquay, Falmouth, St Mawes, Boscastle have introduced charging to help pay these costs."
Now, from the summer months, people will have to pay to spend a penny. To ensure it's also fair to the locals who already cough up a lot of money for water, council tax and precept, they will not have to pay to use the loos.
Mrs Dwelly added: "Local residents already pay for all these costs through their council tax and we don’t want them to pay twice. Toilet charging is more straightforward following the pandemic when the vast majority of people have become very use to cashless transactions.
"There will be no cash/coin options but people can use their smart phone, bank card or purchase a pre payment card. This means that facilities will be safer and less prone to theft and vandalism than if there was cash on site.
“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."
It was also noted that under the scheme the only people who will be able to use the facilities for free will be those with a primary residence in the town who pay their council tax in St Ives.
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