Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Shops asked to open their toilets

Toilet
A similar toilet scheme is running in Richmond in London

A Dorset seaside town council has announced plans to shut public loos and to ask shops and restaurants to open up their toilets to non-paying customers.

Bournemouth Borough Council wants to save 50,000 by closing nine toilets.

The money could then be used to pay local businesses in exchange for people being able to use their facilities.

The Community Toilet Scheme would also include council building toilets being opened up. The proposal is based on a similar scheme in Richmond in London.

The council says it is currently monitoring which public toilets are used and how often.

Councillor John Beesley said the toilets that are earmarked for closure have not been in use for many years. They could now be sold or rented out.

He said: "Saving money is only part of it. It's providing the [public toilet] service for the longer term that's actually more important to us and how we're going to do that.

"The toilets that have been closed, some of them for some years, do throw up some savings. But they're the kind of facilities that in this day and age people are reluctant to use.

"We need to look at how else we can provide toilets and we're looking at other public buildings."

Nigel Hedges, president of Bournemouth Chamber Of Trade and Commerce, said: "We are very much in favour of the scheme and we believe that many businesses in the borough will take it up."

He said the payment of about 600 a year would enable those which join the scheme to fund the upkeep of their facilities.

Bournemouth council's environment and economy scrutiny panel was due to meet on Thursday night to discuss the plans.



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