'Battle' over Falmouth toilets is won after 'scandalous' back track fought (From This is The West Country)
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'Battle' over Falmouth toilets is won after 'scandalous' back track fought
2:00pm Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Cornwall
Falmouth’s public toilets could become much more convenient next year, with the town council’s plans to take them over back on track despite a move by Cornwall Council to renege on a deal agreed in principle.
Town councillors were told last week that at a meeting between some of its members, the town clerk, Cornwall Council officers and the portfolio holder, an agreement had been reached that would see the town take on the six public toilets.
Crucial to this was Cornwall Council’s pledge to give the town a transitional grant and make capital improvements to the facilities. Out of the blue, though, the town was told that grant would be reduced to take into account Cornwall Council’s loss of earnings - it currently charges 20 pence at the Prince of Wales Pier and Grove Place toilets.
Speaking at last week’s council meeting, Councillor Candy Atherton, chair of the finance committee, said: “I think it’s outrageous that Cornwall Council wants to move the goal posts after we had shaken on an agreement.
“We had a gentleman’s agreement, or should I say a women’s officers’ agreement, on both sides. It’s scandalous so we are going into battle.”
Following the meeting, Ms Atherton raised the issue again with Councillor Edwina Hannaford, the portfolio holder for environment, heritage and planning, and was delighted when it was decided to revert back to the original agreement.
“I went to the portfolio holder and said I felt it was wrong and she accepted that and said we should try to sort out a compromise. I was not willing to accept a compromise, though.
“I am pleased we have won the fight and our aspiration now (as a town council) is to have free toilets.”
Although not willing to comment on Cornwall Council’s change of heart – twice – Councillor Hannaford, said: “The council will give Falmouth Town Council a grant of around £120,000 to take over responsibility for running the town’s six facilities. We have also agreed to make capital improvements to the facilities to help cut future running costs and improve access.
“With ever increasing pressures on local authority budgets, devolving responsibility for the running of public toilets to town and parish councils is the best way to safeguard their future. I am pleased Falmouth Town Council is taking steps to help protect the future of the town’s facilities.”
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