Exeter council isn’t flush with figures after shutting 15 of 26 public toilets

Exeter City Council has no idea how many people used the toilets of city centre businesses over the summer.

Councillors in April voted to close 15 of the 26 loos that the authority operates – and those conveniences have since closed.

As well as the council having to make £60,000 of savings from its budget, members were not told that there would still be 11 public toilets available.

It was also claimed there would be an abundance of publicly accessible alternatives in the city centre.

Proposals were also put forward for a community toilet scheme to be introduced that would allow the general public to use toilets in city centre businesses – although the majority of traders did not support it.

Following the closures, Councillor Diana Moore asked questions at last Tuesday night’s executive meeting about usage level, saying: “How many city centre businesses welcomed visitors who were not customers to use their toilets this summer?”

But in response, Cllr Phil Bialyk, leader of the council, said that it did not have any figures to that effect.

He added: “We would have to ask all the businesses who have facilities to keep a record and if they thought someone was a customer or not.

“I don’t think anyone records that information and in the larger stores over more than one floor, it would be very difficult to say, and I don’t think anyone has the resources to record that.”

Asking if public toilets would be part of the CityPoint scheme – the £300m redevelopment of the area around the bus station – Cllr Bialyk said that the council would have to look at the planning proposals that came forward.

He added that whatever does come forward, the Exeter authority will have plenty of opportunities to debate proposals and that anything with a budgetary element would have to go to the executive and full council regardless.

“We will be transparent,” said Cllr Bialyk.

The toilets that have closed are: Cathedral & Quay Car Park (closed in 2016 due to repeated antisocial behaviour); Guinea Street (closed in 2016 due to vandalism, heavy drug use and repeated anti-social behaviour); Blackboy Road; King William Street, Cowick Lane; Ennerdale Way; Hamlin Lane; Higher Cemetery; Buddle Lane; Musgrave Row; Okehampton Street; Fore Street Heavitree; Cowick Street; Fore Street Topsham; Whipton (Pinhoe Road).

£300m CityPoint plan backed by Exeter councillors

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