Public toilets devolution programme

Update on public toilets, March 2017

Many local councils and communities have secured the future of assets and services important to them by taking over their ownership or management as part of Cornwall Council’s devolution programme.

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We have now successfully transferred the ownership or management of 223 public toilets to local city, town and parish councils and local community organisations. 

Cornwall Council has met our aim of keeping public toilets in Cornwall open in the face of significant cuts in our funding from the Government. This has been achieved through the hard work and co-operation of a large number of individuals and organisations and I would like to thank everyone involved for their support.

We have produced a list with details on what has happened to each of the 251 public toilets that the Council inherited from the six district and borough councils in 2009.

View the list of what has happended to those public toilets as part of the Council's devolution programme

Of the 251 toilets we inherited in 2009, 188 have been transferred to local councils and community groups or handed back to landowners, with a further 15 toilets in the process of being transferred. One has been sold.

As part of the transfer arrangements, the Council has invested around £4.5 million upgrading facilities. This has brought about significant improvements including better access for people with disabilities, and energy and water saving measures which will help cut future running costs.

A further 20 toilets are being externally funded; Most of these are being fully funded by local councils, businesses or other groups, but for a few we have created a range of different funding solutions, including working with local businesses and organisations, and installing charging.  We will be reviewing the situation for these toilets at the end of the season to see if enough income has been generated by charging to make this a viable option.  If the charging has not generated enough income and, no other funds are offered, we will have to consider closure.

There are two sets of public toilets which currently have no confirmed solution in place but discussions are continuing with the local community over how to keep these open.

21 toilets were closed by the previous administration between 2009 and 2013.

This means that just five toilets have been closed by this Council, either as a result of damage to the buildings or because alternative solutions have been put in place by the local community.  I am sure you will agree that this is a significant achievement in the light of the pressure on our budget.

The five toilets which have closed recently are:

  • Redruth, Fairfield  - these toilets have been closed because they were damaged by fire.  There will be a connection point remaining so temporary toilets can be provided when the fair or other events use the space,
  • Camborne Rosewarne car park  – Camborne Town Council is running a Community Toilet Scheme where they have an arrangement with local businesses to let the public use their toilets. 
  • Mevagissey West Wharf – these toilets have reverted back to the Harbour Commissioner who will decide what to do with the building. Other toilets in Mevagissey are being taken over by the Parish Council.
  • Ludgvan – Long Rock – this toilet is no longer safe to use because of coastal erosion and so has been closed.
  • Padstow, South Quay – the Town Council is building a new set of toilets nearby so these toilets will close once the new ones are open.

I would like to again thank the Town and Parish Councils who have taken on the running of these facilities and I would also like to thank Cornwall Council Members who have assisted in this transition.

Joyce Duffin
Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment