Watch live on our YouTube channel as Derbyshire Dales councillors consider a radical overhaul of public loos across the district in a bid to cut costs.
The District Council currently provides a total of 26 public toilet facilities at a cost of £467,000 per year - and it has been reviewing public conveniences as one of its high priority measures in bridging a funding gap currently standing at £1-million over the next three years.
Local people and visitors to the Derbyshire Dales were asked in a consultation last autumn for their views on the future delivery of public toilet facilities in the district - and now councillors will meet for a special session on Thursday 8 March to discuss officers' recommendations. The meeting will be broadcast live on our YouTube channel from 6pm.
A report [PDF 447KB] to the meeting will stress that although the council remains committed to delivering the frontline services local people and visitors have come to expect - such as street cleaning, environmental health and refuse collection - the drive to make efficiencies means it has to look at the services the authority is not required to provide, including public conveniences.
Among the proposals is introducing a 20p charge for the use of loos in six busy locations - Matlock's Hall Leys Park, Bakewell's Granby Road and the Recreation Ground, Ashbourne's Shawcroft, Matlock Bath Memorial Gardens and Matlock Bus Station.
Another recommendation is that a formal consultation is undertaken to consider the amendment of the Off Street Parking Order to introduce a 20p additional levy for car parking and £1 for coach parking to help towards the cost of retaining public loos located in rural car parks at Baslow, Over Haddon and Hartington - and that all cash received through the levy be directed to repairs and improvements at these specific locations.
As party of the review, the District Council has been urging local town and parish councils to take over the responsibility for loos in their areas - and some have taken up the offer. Community Asset Transfers have been agreed for facilities at Ashford in the Water and Wirksworth, with a one-year lease proposed to transfer the facilities at Eyam to the parish council in return for a 50% contribution towards running costs, subject to review in 2019.
Other loos that have not so far attracted interest from town and parish councils now face closure subject to a three-week period of consultation, the results of which would feed into a final decision by councillors in April.
Although Community Asset negotiations will continue with potential willing partners, the public toilets currently facing closure are Ashbourne's Recreation Ground and Cokayne Avenue, Bakewell's Riverside and Agricultural Way, Birchover, Bonsall, Bradwell, Cromford Market Place, Darley Dale, Artist's Corner Matlock Dale, Matlock Bath Pavilion, Matlock Hall Leys Park Play Area, Monsal Head, Monyash and Thorpe.
It is recommended that the loos at Middleton by Youlgrave are retained as a 26 week per year facility during April to October each year without charge.
To help plug the gap of any closures, the 8 March meeting will be asked to adopt a Community Toilet Scheme, where local businesses are asked to allow members of the public to use their own loos for free in exchange for a small revenue grant. Another proposal is to explore new sponsorship and advertising options at retained public conveniences.