A meeting was held in Marazion last night to discuss what options are available to save the public toilets from permanent closure.
The town hall was full, as Cornwall Council leader, John Pollard, along with Marazion Town councillors were on hand to answer questions about the closure of the main public conveniences.
As part of budget cuts, Cornwall Council closed many public conveniences around the county in April this year, including two in Marazion.
Residents were keen to find out what the criteria had been for the decision to close the toilets in Marazion Square, leaving the town with the Folly Field conveniences which are only open at weekends in the winter.
Business owners, local residents and holidaymakers have contributed to a 2000-signature petition which was presented to Mr Pollard at the meeting.
Karen Harding, shop owner in Marazion, said: “During the summer at least five times a day people came in the shop to ask for the toilets and I had to send them all the way to Folly Field, elderly people and people with children. I was just embarrassed to be honest. We are trying to welcome people to our beautiful town. For businesses it’s a struggle as it is, if we are turning people away we are terrified they won’t want to walk back again.”
Mr Pollard said the council has been working alongside town and parish councils to try to come to viable solutions.
“This process with parish councils has been going on for 18 months. I am sure we can find solutions and help, as that’s what we have been doing across Cornwall. The council can give the freehold of the toilets to the town; they can do what they like with them. That is an opportunity for you.
“The fact is we have not got the money to do everything we used to do. It’s not going to get better, it’s going to get worse.”
The council are able to provide a grant of £11,347 guaranteed for one year, which is the current cost of keeping the Folly Field toilets open.
The grant can be used to keep this set of toilets open, or split if the decision is taken to reopen the conveniences in Marazion Square.
It would then fall to the town council to find the funds to make up the rest of the costs.
Marazion mayor, Derek Laity, said: “It is very unusual for the size of the town to have such a low precept. We would have to increase it quite a bit. There will be people saying ‘we don’t use the toilets why should we pay for them?’ No one wants to see them closed, we don’t want to see them closed, but we have to work within the budget we have.”
St Aubyn’s Estate said they are willing to work in partnership with the town council and Chamber of Commerce to help preserve the toilets in the future.
The town council are currently discussing the options available to them.