Cornwall beach resort slammed after charging tourists to go to the toilet, but locals go free

St Ives Town Council own eight public toilets around the town, including one which it lets out to a private operator

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Tourists in St Ives will now have to pay for the usage of public toilets in the area, while locals will be able to circumvent the charge.

All of the toilets in the area had traditionally been free, but the local authority is now looking to recoup some cash from them.

St Ives Town Council own eight public toilets around the town, including one which it lets out to a private operator.

The running charges for the facilities cost the council a great deal each year due to the maintenance, water and cleaning bills running into the thousands on a yearly basis.

Tourists could soon be stumping up a fee in order to use the toilets in St Ives.
Tourists could soon be stumping up a fee in order to use the toilets in St Ives.

It costs £135,000 each year to run all the toilets in the town according to the town council, excluding the labour costs for the staff tasked with carrying out the duties required for the facilities.

In the high season, they are open from dawn until dusk and are cleaned five times a day.

Vandalism is also said to have increased in recent years in the area according to the local authority, and charging tourists for toilet usage will also help towards meeting the costs involved with this.

Town clerk Louise Dwelly said: "Many councils across the country are closing their public toilets because of the huge cost.

"But we understand the importance of public toilets to our visitor economy and this is not an option in a seaside town with beaches.

As a town that boasts multiple beautiful beaches, tourists tend to flock to the area.
As a town that boasts multiple beautiful beaches, tourists tend to flock to the area.

"Many councils in Cornwall including Penzance, Looe, Newquay, Falmouth, St Mawes, Boscastle have introduced charging to help pay these costs."

From this summer, tourists will have to pay in order to use the facilities, while locals will not be subject to the ruling as they already pay for water, council tax and precept in order to help keep the services running.

Mrs Dwelly told CornwallLive: "Local residents already pay for all these costs through their council tax and we don’t want them to pay twice."

The decline in coin usage and increasing use of contactless payments gave the council the idea and means to make it easier to pay to use the public loos, Mrs Dwelly says.

She added that only those with their primary address in St Ives and pay their council tax in the area will be able to enjoy the service for free.

The town council say they are still finalising details of the new contactless toilets, and looking for ways to ensure second home owners or holiday let users are unable to use the facilities.

Mrs Dwelly said: “If and when the scheme is rolled out across all the facilities in 2023-24, residents will be able to apply for a pre-payment card to access the facilities for free.

"This is a way in which the 550,000 day visitors and 220,000 staying visitors can contribute to the town’s running costs."

Mrs Dwelly added that the scheme will be trialled first at two of the sites before being rolled out to the others later this year.