Would you pay 20p to ‘spend a penny’ in East Lindsey?

The public toilet facilities in Woodhall Spa.
The public toilet facilities in Woodhall Spa.

Members of the public will be charged ‘20p to pee’ in more than a dozen public toilet blocks in East Lindsey, following an ELDC executive board decision last week.

The 20p entry charge will be introduced at 13 public toilets across the district to help fund the running of the facilities going forward.

However, eleven other toilet blocks across the district- including Horncastle, Woodhall Spa and Coningsby - will not face the new charge, but discussions will take place with relevant town and parish councils regarding possible asset transfer or local management of these toilets.

East Lindsey District Council has said that it needs to reduce its running costs by £3m-4m over the next 
three years, as government funding to support local services continues to reduce.

The District Council has estimated that introducing the charge at the 13 toilet blocks will generate around £217,000 per year, from 2018/19.

At present, the public toilets cost around £542,000 per year to run - and in recent years, ELDC has spent £453,000 refurbishing public toilets in Louth, Mablethorpe, Wragby and Skegness.

Speaking at the District Council’s executive board meeting last week, Coun Sandra Harrison (Portfolio Holder for Operational Services) said: “I’d like to thank the Parish Council Chairman and Clerks for their time in meeting with me to discuss the planned charges.

“The District Council is focusing its resources on the provision of access to good quality public toilets in key locations for the benefit of local people and visitors.

“Given the financial pressures faced, the Executive Board felt a 20p charge was a better way forward than reducing the number of toilets provided in these locations.

“The option to charge for the use of public toilets is not a new concept, with many neighbouring council areas already having similar arrangements in place.”

When asked about the possibility of Horncastle Town Council taking on the running of the toilets, Town Clerk, Amanda Bushell, said: “It was mentioned to the Town Council a couple of years ago (when ELDC first publicised their Transformation Programme) about the possibility of transferring the public toilets in the town to the Town Council, but the Town Council has not formally entered into discussion with ELDC about this.

“The Town Council did set up an ‘Asset Enhancement Group’ consisting of town councillors and local district councillors, and one of its roles was to negotiate on behalf of the Town Council with other local authorities or organisations over the use and transfer of any assets in the town. However, no proposals were received to consider and the group was disbanded in May this year.”