Council apologises for dirty condition of loos
SOUTH Hams Council has apologised for the dirty state of the disabled toilets in Royal Avenue Gardens, Dartmouth.
Michael Butler and his wife Jean, from Torquay, who are both disabled, said their trip to Dartmouth on Thursday, July 9, had been spoiled by the cleanliness of the public loos.
All three in the block were in a ‘diabolical state’ and there was no soap, said Mr Butler in a letter published in last week’s Chronicle.
‘My wife and I love Dartmouth but the loos let it down.’
A South Hams Council spokesman said: ‘We’d like to apologise to Mr Butler for the cleanliness of the Royal Avenue Gardens disabled toilets.
‘The Royal Avenue Gardens disabled facilities are inspected and cleaned at frequent intervals in the low season. The summer season cleaning schedule came into place on the week commencing Monday July 13, where the toilets are frequently cleaned on a seven-day service to cope with the rise in use from holidaymakers.
‘South Hams District Council prides itself on the standards of public toilet cleanliness across the South Hams and will be monitoring the situation in Dartmouth.’
The promise comes as the district council is introducing a 20p charge for the ladies and gents toilets and showers in Royal Avenue Gardens.
The trialling of the pay on entry system is part of budget adjustments being made by the council.
The spokesman added: ‘In setting recent budgets, the council has had to make some extremely tough decisions. The public toilet service is discretionary and costs the council almost £1m a year. It is, however, an extremely valued front line service which needs to be provided innovatively in order to be cost-effective.
‘We have recently consulted with all communities and town and parish councils in respect of the public toilet service.
‘Kingsbridge and Dartmouth were proactive in looking at how toilets in their areas will be able to cover some of the costs of running the service.’
Cllr Rufus Gilbert said: ‘These pilots have been designed in consultation with the community and with the support of the town councils so the service can be protected.
‘Instead of closing toilets or reducing opening hours, this was thought to be the best solution.
‘We will regularly monitor how the system is working and report back to the council next year.’
The disabled toilets will require a ‘radar’ key, which can be purchased by blue badge holders from the town council.