The Isle of Wight Council Executive has agreed to consult with residents and businesses over the potential introduction of a community toilet scheme on the Island which could increase the number of public conveniences available.
The scheme offers many advantages, including longer opening hours, increased number of facilities and potential increased trade for local businesses.
The consultation will start in January 2015 and involve residents, visitors and businesses, the results of which will be used by the council to assess the viability of such a scheme on the Island.
The council is very sensitive to the needs of vulnerable residents who rely on easy access to public toilets, particularly the elderly, ill, pregnant women and young children. These groups will be an important consideration in any future decisions.
Councillor Luisa Hillard, Isle of Wight Council Executive member for sustainability, environment and public realm, said:
“We are exploring many options for delivering services differently and we feel a community toilet scheme has the potential to provide a better service across the Island while saving the council money. I hope that people will take the time to have their say on the proposals when the consultation is launched in January.”
Community toilet schemes are in operation in many other parts of the country and have proved a successful way of providing public conveniences at a reduced cost to the council tax payer. Initial research has shown that should a sufficient number of businesses join the scheme, significant savings could be made. The council currently spends over £500,000 each year maintaining 41 public conveniences across the Island.
The decision to consult on the community toilet scheme was made by the Executive at its meeting on Tuesday (11th November). Councillors also agreed at the meeting not to overlook toilets owned by the council that are currently not in operation.
The report considered by the Executive can be found here: http://www.iwight.com/Meetings/committees/Executive/11-11-14/PAPER%20F.pdf.
Photograph of Yarmouth toilets thanks to Colin McCrae