Earby Town Council has voted to double the precept paid by householders in the next financial year to pay for public toilets in the town.
In April, the town’s public toilets will close due to a decision made by Pendle Council, but councillors in Earby have long harboured hopes of taking over the running of the toilets and want to create the “poshest loos in Pendle”.
At January’s meeting, the vote has meant the total precept collected by the town council will jump by £26,000 to just shy of £50,000.
With the majority of houses in Earby falling into Bands A and B, the increased rate will see those that paid £12.92 from Band A households this financial year pay around £28.34 next year. In Band B, the increase will be from £15.07 this year to around £33.06 next year.
Such a large hike will only be for one year, as councillors said at Monday’s meeting as the plan is to close the current toilets at the bus station, and build two brand new pay-for electronic operated toilets to be situated in the council building and to refurbish the toilet at the Station Hotel.
The top end estimate for the construction and refurbishment will be £16,000 and the top end estimate for maintenance going forward is £12,000 per year, thus creating the £26,000 jump.
Coun. Chris Tennant said this way “makes sense” as in the future, after the initial expenditure, somebody would only have to be paid to clean the toilets, and not open and close them at both ends of the day.
Coun. Tennant said: “My feeling is we shouldn’t have to be doing this; taking it on. But if we are going to do it, I wouldn’t like to see us charging for the existing toilets, especially the ones at the bus station.”
Coun. Vera Cocker added: “It’s alright for Pendle to make the cuts but we have done so much work in getting the walking groups through Earby, shop business owners, passing trade and visitors.
“I think it’s imperative we keep the toilets and make a good job of them as they are pretty grotty at the moment. It’s not a risk, it’s a challenge and a good choice for Earby.”
All councillors backed the idea apart from Coun. James Jackman who abstained from voting.