In April 2016, Totland Parish Council took over running the two public toilets in the village from the Isle of Wight Council, to avoid the closure of a very necessary facility for both residents and visitors. After years of underfunding and low maintenance by the Isle of Wight Council, the two blocks were in a poor state and many necessary works were carried out immediately. Totland Parish Council has done its best with Totland beach block, installing energy saving lighting and improving the appearance of building by bringing in a local artist to help with mosaic designs around the windows and repairing the roof. The second toilet block in Colwell Bay is very well used all year round and suffers from blockages, leaks and mould, and this block remains a poor advertisement for this part of the village, Colwell Bay.
It’s become painfully clear over the last six years that making these toilets good is not going to be achieved by an annual update with a low budget. It cost over £17,000 last year just to keep these toilets operational only.
Other town and parishes have shown that there is a way out, and, in spite of the fact that it’s a very expensive one, it shouldn’t cost local residents any extra money. Shanklin had the same problem as Totland, but went for a radical solution – it installed semi-automatic, coin-operated modules from Swedish company Danfo, and their public loos are now a matter of civic pride. Totland Parish Council considered this option, however, by carrying out research the Parish Councillors believe they can achieve something similar for less financial layout. Of course, it won’t come cheap and the Parish Council will work with builders to achieve good value but by also using high quality equipment. Surveys have already been carried out, and the price is going to be around £70,000. After your sharp intake of breath, let me tell you that buys 4 semi-automatic unisex modules and a DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) module installed within the current Colwell Chine Road building. So how will this be achieved at no extra cost? Well, not all at once – Totland Parish Council just doesn’t have those resources, however, the capital costs can be met by raising a 25-year loan from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB). The interest charges can be covered by charging, say, 20p to all users of the facilities – the toilets have an annual footfall of around 50,000 and, together with a projected 25% saving in utility bills and lower maintenance costs, could result in lower costs all round. Since most users are visitors, it seems pretty fair they should pay for use of our conveniences.
Shanklin’s experience has been really positive. They have cut their annual spend significantly and they have modern, hygienic toilets with less maintenance and vandalism, and the residents are delighted – they take a real pride in their new loos. If you want to check them out, visit the ones at the top of the Old Village, opposite the bottom of the car park.
Yarmouth Town Council have also upgraded both their blocks, Yarmouth Common and Bridge Road. They look much better and great comments have been received on the difference these make to the Town.
The Parish Council have been approached by many residents to install public toilets back on the Recreation Ground. This area is very popular and with more events being held here Councillors agreed to look further into this. A request through the Isle of Wight Council for a Changing Places match funding was started during 2021 and in March 2022 the Parish Council received confirmation that they had been successful. Therefore, the Parish Council have discussed and agreed to have a unisex toilet plus Changing Places facility on the Recreation Ground at the entrance.
If you have any views on this project or would like further information, please contact the Parish Clerk on email@example.com or by any other means listed on the Contact Us page.