Caught short visitors to Helston are using the outside wall of shut public toilets to relieve themselves on.
This was news from Councillor Gillian Geer, a shop owner in the town who told her fellow members that people often complained to her about the situation.
“As a council and as a town we can’t have that. It turns out they are really well used – or at least should be really well used. At the moment people are using the area outside for whatever they should be doing inside,” she said.
“If we want a town people are proud of we really do not need people peeing behind a wall. Shopkeepers are witnessing it in that area.”
She urged the council to have one toilet re-opened immediately, which could be used by men and women, including the disabled, at whatever cost to the council, and then look at a way forward for the long-term once this had been done.
“I personally feel that some of the businesses in the area might wish to contribute to it,” she said. “People do need to go to the toilet and they can’t wait until they get to the Guildhall. It’s got to open.
“Like it or not, this council has got a long way to go to earn the respect of the people of Helston again. That toilet being open is a start.”
Town clerk Chris Dawson said the only way to have the toilet re-opened immediately would be to persuade Cornwall Council to do so. The town council would be unable to insure it without a lease agreement in place.
Councillor Ronnie Williams agreed with Mrs Geer, saying: “It is absolutely stinking around that area.”
He claimed that when choosing which toilets to keep open members were told the Trengrouse facilities were “in a very poor state of repair”, but he added: “That is far from the truth.”
Mr Williams alleged: “The building, gutted, is a perfect store for the county, no question. Close it down, have it as a store – that’s another problem got over.”
Clarifying this, clerk Mr Dawson said when Cornwall Council closed the toilets he had actually asked for the building to be leased to the town council, to use as storage.
Three weeks later he was told the storage idea was being put out to closed tender.
“I do feel that my idea has been used and will be put out there for gain,” he added.
Deputy mayor Mike Thomas said he was a member of the committee that spent “many, many hours” considering which toilets to close, at the insistence of Cornwall Council, and it was a decision “not taken lightly”.
But he added: “I have changed my mind and I would certainly wish to see that toilet open.”
New community network manager Maxine Hardy said Cornwall Council could ask contractors Cory to do a “deep clean” outside the toilets to prevent unpleasant odours. If the town wanted to “continue the conversation” with the council she would be happy to help with that.
It was unanimously agreed to contact Cornwall Council with a view to “the immediate re-opening of the toilets in Trengrouse Way.”
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