Councillors are expected to give the go ahead for a £1 million+ investment in the city’s 37 public toilets today.
The cash will be used to refurbish and modernise at least 12 of the most used facilities in the busy city and beachfront areas, including the much-criticised Royal Pavilion Gardens site which will be first on the list.
The upgrades will also include the introduction of a 30p charge in 11 of the revamped loos which could be a combination of contactless (card and phone payments) and cash to ensure all users can access the toilets.
Councillors will vote on the plans this evening at the policy, resources and growth committee, and if passed the work is likely to begin this winter when footfall and demand is at its lowest.
Deputy council leader Cllr Gill Mitchell said:
“If the committee passes this recommendation it will mean our residents and tourist can look forward to beautifully refurbished, state of the art loos in our main city and seafront areas.
“£1.1m is a huge investment and it will transform our toilet facilities and ensure we’re providing loos that the city and its people can be proud of.”
The report to the committee also recommends the introduction of a 30p charge at 11 sites: Blackrock; Goldstone Villas; Hove Lagoon; King Alfred; Kings Esplanade; Lower Promenade East; Lower Promenade West; Peter Pan; Royal Pavilion Gardens; The Colonnade; Western Esplanade. Other councils in England charge between 20p and 50p for using public toilets.
Cllr Mitchell added:
“The aim of the refurbishment programme and introduction of charging at some toilets is to prevent further toilet closures, as budgets continue to be cut, and will allow us to maintain all our toilets to a better standard.”
These new loos will be in addition to the ‘paid’ toilet at the West Pier Arches where charging began four years ago and has proved successful and popular. Money generated through paying will be channelled directly back into the upkeep of the public loos.
Under the Public Health Act 1936, local authorities in England have no legal obligation to provide toilet facilities for the public. With the council having to find ways of saving £22million over the next two years due to Government cut backs, the council is being forced to find different ways to generate income.
The upgrading of the loos will be jointly financed by the council and its contractor Healthmatic who will provide £550,000 and £602,000 respectively.
Healthmatic has wide experience in managing public toilets including cleaning, maintenance and refurbishment, and works with 160 local authorities in the UK.