Issue - meetings

Public Toilets refurbishment and renewal project

Meeting: 14/12/2023 - Cabinet (Item 69)

69 Public Toilets Refurbishment and Renewal Project pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members discussed proposals for the refurbishment of public toilets that were detailed in the Cabinet report. This report proposes a schedule of investment in public toilets around the district. Budgets totalling £1.25 million with a mixture of revenue and capital funding have been identified. A further sum of £250k is anticipated although not yet approved via an external grant from Southern Water. The report proposes maintenance works at 7 sites. This will focus on addressing existing defects and is not a full refurbishment of the toilets. But it will return them to a much higher standard of repair. Examples of the work content can be found at Annex 1 (to the report) with the estimated cost.

 

The total spend on revenue repair work is £279k and subject to approval at Cabinet. It was proposed to undertake these works in the new year so that they were complete before the start of the 2024 season. The report also proposed capital works at three sites, Margate Clock Tower, Stone Bay and Botany Bay. These capital works would provide significantly improved and accessible facilities at all three sites. There were currently 27 public toilets in Thanet and this report proposes works in 10 of those 27 locations. This investment was proposed to be the start of an anticipated wider and longer term programme of public toilet improvements subject to further funding being identified.

 

The report also proposes that a further report be taken to Cabinet before the end of October 2024 to provide an update on toilet refurbishment and improvement works. The report would update on the capital works programme and will propose next steps to address refurbishment or improvements at the public toilets not included in this initial phase. £400k of revenue funding is coming from earmarked reserves. In option 1 £279k would be allocated for revenue repairs and £121k revenue contribution to capital. However, if the Council was required to undertake option 2 then the whole £400k would be allocated to revenue repairs.

 

The Cabinet recommended to Council that a one-off supplementary General Fund revenue budget of £279k be approved for the repairs to existing facilities; to be funded from the underspend identified at the end of 2022/23 and allocated to earmarked reserves for investment in toilet facilities. Of the £749k budget for the Public Toilets refurbishment and renewal project within the 2023/24 Capital Programme the report suggested that £450k be from borrowing and a £121k contribution from earmarked reserves. Financing of the remaining £179k was going to be identified at a later date.

 

£400k of funding would be sourced from the Margate Town Deal funding, which was an external grant. Cabinet noted that £400k of approved capital budget was allocated for toilet facilities within the Margate Town Deal scheme in the 2023/24 Capital Programme. It was estimated that Southern Water would allocate funding to the value of £250k.

 

The following embers spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1:

 

Councillor Pugh;

Councillor Austin.

 

Councillor Albon proposed, Councillor Duckworth seconded and Cabinet agreed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69


Meeting: 06/12/2023 - Overview & Scrutiny Panel (Item 22)

22 Public Toilets Refurbishment and Renewal Project pdf icon PDF 95 KB

report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mike Humber introduced the report and made following comments:

 

  • This report proposed a schedule of investment in public toilets around the district;
  • Budgets totalling £1.25m with a mixture of revenue and capital funding had been identified. A further sum of £250k was anticipated although not yet approved via an external grant from Southern Water;
  • The report proposed maintenance works at seven sites. This would focus on addressing existing defects and was not a full refurbishment of the toilets. But it would return them to a much higher standard of repair. Examples of the work content could be found at Annex 1 with the estimated cost;
  • The total spend on revenue repair work was £279k and subject to approval at Cabinet it was proposed to undertake these works in the new year so that they were completed before the start of the 2024 season;
  • The report also proposed capital works at three sites, Margate Clock Tower, Stone Bay and Botany Bay;
  • These capital works would provide significantly improved and accessible facilities at all three sites;
  • There were currently 27 public toilets in Thanet and this report proposes works in 10 of those 27 locations. This investment was proposed to be the start of an anticipated wider and longer term programme of public toilet improvements subject to further funding being identified;
  • The report also proposed that a further report be taken to Cabinet before the end of October 2024 to provide an update on toilet refurbishment and improvement works;
  • The report would update on the capital works programme and would propose next steps to address refurbishment or improvements at the public toilets not included in this initial phase.

 

Speaking under public speaking, Ms Ruth Bailey made the following comments:

 

  • Ms Bailey said that this was a subject that she had raised quite often and she therefore wanted to come along to the Panel to welcome this long awaited toilet strategy;
  • Ms Bailey said that this issue was of great importance to residents and visitors alike and was also speaking from experience having been on the frontline listening to complaints when manning the Visitor Information Kiosk;
  • Toilet provision was not a statutory duty for the Council. However, clean and hygienic toilets, particularly in a seaside destination, were essential. There was no getting away from that;
  • Having this strategy in the public arena was a real positive step forward. Therefore, well one to all concerned;
  • The report was clear and honest in its limitations, the detailed rationale, costings and schedule of works was welcome, as was the re-assessment of disability and baby changing provision;

 

  • It was pleasing to note that, despite fears to the contrary, this refurbishment programme did not seem to entail the closure or selling off of any of the toilet facilities;
  • The first tranche of toilets would be ready for next summer; which is great. However, the timespan of the total programme was given as 10 years (at paragraph 3.4. of the report) which did seem a rather prolonged period. It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22