Members considered a proposal to save £67k by closing Beckenham, Bromley, and West Wickham High Street public toilets (declaring the Beckenham property surplus to requirements) and introducing Community Toilet Schemes as alternative provision. Most of the scheme agreements had no revenue cost implications being based upon the ‘Open London’ scheme or by utilising other premises with no fee-paying requirements. The additional cost of new entrants to the scheme amounted to £2k pa; a list of the Community Toilet Scheme business partners was appended to Report ES14094.
Final results of public consultation on the toilet closures were tabled as were details of an Equality Impact Assessment for the Community Toilet Scheme 2015.
Introducing the item, the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Environment highlighted that two further Community Toilet scheme facilities had now been included for Beckenham, in addition to those appended to Report ES14094.
In discussion it was suggested that the provision of community toilet facilities seemed more convenient than having just one location for public toilets. This was supported with community toilet schemes providing better facilities at less cost. If businesses providing community toilet facilities were to receive increased footfall, more retail outlets could be interested in joining the scheme. The Leader agreed with the greater flexibility provided by community toilets; the scheme made economic sense and was good for the local economy.
Councillor Nicholas Bennett JP (West Wickham) supporting the recommendations enquired whether there had been any further progress in securing the use of facilities at the Lidl store, West Wickham. Councillor Bennett also enquired whether facilities at West Wickham library could be opened as a Community Toilet Scheme. The Portfolio Holder advised that he was hopeful of some positive news soon.
Members supported the recommendations.
(1) the closure of Beckenham, Bromley and West Wickham High Street public toilets from 31st March 2015 be agreed;
(2) the Beckenham public toilet be declared surplus and offered to the market, on the basis that if offers are not forthcoming the public toilet should be demolished; and
(3) the expansion of the Community Toilet Scheme as the alternative provision set out in paragraph 3.7 of Report ES14094 be authorised.