Business down the pan?

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Ever dreamed of running your own public toilet? Well, now you can thanks to an innovative new scheme proposed by Cornwall Council.

From April 1 of next year (and no, it’s not a joke), the Council will cease funding the running of public toilets, as part of wider ranging spending cuts.

But to stop locals and tourists being caught short, the Council is seeking creative ways to work with town and parish councils and the business community to keep public toilets open by funding them “in a different way”.

A number of public toilets have already been devolved to town and parish councils and others have been transferred back to private landowners.

The authority is now organising a large-scale tender called ‘Your Convenience,’ which seeks to attract bids from numerous sources to help secure the public toilet provision at over 40 public conveniences across Cornwall.

These toilet blocks are located in well-known locations such as Padstow, the Camel Trail and Praa Sands. Interested parties are being offered the opportunity to take on a lease of a public toilet to use as a commercial business.

The Council says that businesses may use part of the existing building or perhaps land next to or near to the toilets to operate a business which could transform it into a wide variety of commercial uses such as cafes, recreational activities or even holiday lets (subject to planning).

Tenderers with a penny to spend will be required, however, to continue to provide public toilets as a condition of the lease.

Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for housing and the environment, Joyce Duffin, said: “We believe this is the best solution to reach our savings targets while ensuring the Council does what it can to keep toilet provision open across Cornwall.”

Don’t loos the opportunity to be flushed with success. Full details will appear on the Tenders in Cornwall website from May 29. It is expected that final decisions on the future of the toilets will be made in the summer of 2015.