Toilet Tenacity

The dirty business of cleaning up CBC’s management of public toilets in the borough appears to have shifted any blockage.

You may remember how CBC wanted to pebbledash the public toilets out to the Town and Parish Councils, washing its hands of all responsibility for public shitter provision.

CBC was planning on dumping the management of bogs on Wivenhoe Town Council, West Mersea Town Council and Dedham Parish Council.

Three different ‘models of asset management’ now appear to have been reached, with Wivenhoe Town Council riding out a potentially brown pants situation to play something of a public toilet blinder.

Let’s poop the toilet humour right here as we look at the actual analysis.

The Chronic has seen a report [Word doc] prepared by Fiona Duhamel, the Head of Commercial Services at CBC.

How public toilets became commercialised, we’re not entirely sure.

The proposal in the report is for WTC to take on the management of the public toilets in the town, and in return CBC will hand over ownership of both the public car park and the Town Hall.

Like we said – WTC has ridden out any skid marks and appears to have landed the better side of the bargain.

It is an indication as to how strapped for cash CBC is in that it is prepared to surrender land ownership to simply get rid of the responsibility of managing a public toilet.

WTC was quoted an annual figure of £10,000 just to keep the toilet open.

The report states:

“The freehold of the Town Hall site to be transferred to Wivenhoe Town Council for a consideration. The freehold of the toilets and car park to be transferred to Wivenhoe Town Council for nil consideration.”

It will be interesting to see exactly what that ‘consideration’ will be for the Town Hall. Costing the ‘consideration’ will no doubt come via the precept set by WTC as part of the Council Tax calculations.

This will then be passed on to residents in the town, essentially funding the management of the toilet, and the wider ambitions of WTC.

Ownership of the Town Hall central site in Wivenhoe has long been the plan for WTC. CBC took ownership back in 1974 when Wivenhoe Urban and District Council ceased to exist.

With WTC now about to own the stretch of land covering the car park, the Town Hall, the adjacent old Police houses and the William Loveless Hall, you can see how the compromise of taking on a public toilet is a price worth paying.

The long term plan will now be for a Wivenhoe civic centre to appear on the site at some time in the future. The CBC report states that the Town Council is unable to cash in on the land for commercial gain.

The report concludes:

“This proposal supports “Develop a strong sense of community across the Borough by enabling people and groups to take more ownership and responsibility for their quality of life “ within the Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018.”

We’re talking about PUBLIC TOILETS, Comrades.

And so common sense it seems from CBC and WTC. It shows that Localism sometimes does just about work.

We do wonder though how West Mersea Town Council now feel about the plight of the public toilets on the island. These have been taken on by WMTC with no similar back scratching taking place.

Meanwhile over in Dedham and a different model to toilet management is in place. CBC is continuing to fund the toilets for a further year, and then to review the situation.

A public toilet precedent has been set by WTC.

Ask and you may just get.

Now go and wash and your hands.