Porthleven Town Council is set to take over the ownership and running of the toilets near the Institute on Harbour Road. This is because Cornwall Council decided to stop funding them, and therefore if no-one took them over, they would close and the building would be sold-off.
I am pleased the town council has decided to run these toilets, as to lose them would be terrible for Porthleven. As part of the deal, the town council will be given for a nominal fee (£1) the freehold of the toilets. These toilet will also have a full refurbishment to the standard which the town council is happy with. That means the town council will be operating a ‘as new’ facility. Funding the Harbour Rd toilets will also have a very minimal impact on the town council’s precept.
The remaining toilet at Shute Lane will remain in the control of Cornwall Council who will continue to fund them. Though I very much doubt it will get a makeover. However, these toilets were also offered to the town council on the same terms as Harbour Rd, but also with a one-off grant of around £8,000.
You might think this was a good deal, but I do not think it was, and I gave my recommendation that the town council should not take them over. The main reason is the grant was just for one years running cost, after that the town council would have to fund them via the precept. That is a lot of money just to add onto the precept.
It would also be pointless to take them over as Cornwall Council has deemed the Shute Lane toilets strategically important, and therefore will continue to fund them. So what would be the point in the town council taking them over when they are safe from closure.
It might have been more logical if Cornwall Council offered a better financial settlement, but they would not. This is despite the Town Clerk and myself highlighting this and asking for a better settlement. Just offering a one year grant is in my view very shortsighted. Maybe if they offered five, then maybe the deal to take the toilets over would have been more attractive to the town council. After all, Cornwall Council will still have to find the £8,000 a year. Yes it would have been more money in the short-term, but in years six and beyond, Cornwall Council would have reduced a liability.
In the meantime, the town council will be meeting with representatives from Cornwall Council to start the handover process and agree on the schedule for the refurbishment.