Pay to Pee?

Have the pay toilets been tharwted?

Not yet. South Hams District Council recently revealed plans to install pay toilet systems at a cost of £50,000 in the 3 public facilities in Totnes. It seems public dunny facilities are funded from central government – not Council Tax and this funding has now stopped, leaving the lavies completely unfunded.

SHDC say the regions loos cost £1 million a year to maintain but by closing some, transferring others to the local communities and installing pay2pee will save them £226,000 still leaving them caught short.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert has stated: “This proposal has not been about closing toilets. It is about finding solutions to a very real problem.” SHDC are trying to sugar-coat the situation with statements like “Where these facilities are being taken on by the local community, there are clear advantages that will benefit the people who use them“,   “Where we have identified alternative toilets in the local area such as pubs and cafés this may have a positive impact on the local businesses with increased footfall and an increase in money spent in local area.” and even “…for those toilets which will be devolved to Parish and Town Councils it will have a positive impact in terms of keeping those buildings in use...”.

Not popular…

Local townspeople have not taken kindly to the proposals with concerns that it will alienate tourists, cause problems for the weekly markets with visitors choosing to stay away and even claims of human rights violations. It appears there is no legal requirement forcing South Hams to keep any conveniences open. Following a general outcry, SHDC have allowed the problem to be debated with Town Council prior to taking further action with a view to finding alternative solutions.

“Where these facilities are being taken on by the local community, there are clear advantages that will benefit the people who use them”

Proposed Alternatives

Local Councillor John Birch has been very pro-active on this subject and has put forward counter proposals. These include increasing the car parking charges at the Steamer Quay car-park to cover the costs of the facilities on that site. The justification is that this is mostly used by visitors and tourists who make highest use of them. Increasing the fees ‘slightly‘ for Market Traders on the basis that fees are not otherwise increasing this year and that the Totnes town council fund the Coronation Road WC’s to the tune of £3000. Mr Birch believes these measures will save the £50,000 and that this saving be paid to Totnes Town Council as a contribution towards the Civic Square improvements as well as toilet improvements. The Town Council will have another meeting on the 4th February prior to putting agreed proposals to SHDC.

Have your say…

Perhaps you have an idea that could help? If you would like to see the three public toilets in Totnes kept free of Pay on Entry equipment please send an email to making your views known.

Comment Below…


  4 comments for “Pay to Pee?

  1. Colin Baker
    21st January 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Local council should be responsible for the toilets. And we should all pay through our existing council tax payments.

  2. philip silvester
    23rd January 2019 at 11:52 am

    I would be happy to pay if the level of service warrants the cost. Hygiene, maintenance & security has to be guaranteed.

  3. Carol Gardner
    23rd January 2019 at 3:49 pm

    0h thanks John! By proposing a ‘slightly increased fee for market traders you would be passing on the costs to some of the poorest people in the community.Reduce the salaries of some of the higher earners at SHDC instead.Toilets should be paid for out of council tax We all pay enough of it! I know that the proposed renovation and resurfacing of the market square comes out of a separate pot of money but it seems like a daft system when vast sums can be wasted on vanity schemes when we can’t afford to keep the loos open! Traders are very concerned that the work on the market square will overrun the scheduled timetable.Yes,the stairs need repair and the square needs resurfacing,but do the planters and seating really need change? Traders could go out of business if work takes 12-18 months unless ways can be found to work around us,between markets.

    • 22nd September 2019 at 2:46 pm

      I hope the toilets situation has been sorted by now. I wonder if you will see this reply Carol. I know an old friend of yours who is trying to get in touch with you. Just to make sure everything is ok. I can see all was well in January. Hope all is well in September 2019 as I reply.

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