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Residents fear costly repairs if they take on public toilets
RESIDENTS fear they could face a large bill to run and maintain local public toilets as the district council looks to pass on ownership due to cost cutting.
Hambleton District Council is seeking to pass on the toilets it runs to the parish and town councils in its patch.
Talks have been held between the interested parties and the district is offering to cover the first one and a half years of the costs.
Osmotherley, Great Ayton and Stokesley parish councils have all agreed in principle to take over responsibility.
Discussions with the remaining town and parish councils are still taking place with a view to them taking over on April 1.
Bedale Town councillor Bob Pocklington, Mayor of Bedale, said: "The district council’s view is that it’s giving us a £98,000 asset but that could become a liability very quickly.
"They’re in the main car park behind the Main Street and if they need repairing it could prove costly and we’ve had to have industrial cleaners in due to vandalism.
"Bedale residents would be bearing the cost and yet it’s visitors who would most likely benefit. I think the feeling is that we look at it again before giving a final decision."
Thirsk Town Council would take over running the Millgate toilets if it agreed to it.
Councillor Derek Adamson, Thirsk mayor, said: "We’ve had a meeting and we’ve set up a group which is waiting to meet with the district council to take it further.
"The toilets are functional at the moment and if the town council took over the toilets we would hope to improve them.
"We could put an attendant in, possibly charge for entry and hopefully they would be kept spick and span."
Councillor Ron Kirk, of the district council’s cabinet committee, said: "By transferring them to local service providers we can help balance the district council’s budgets.
"This could be by reducing costs through parish and town councils but also maintaining the provision for local people and visitors."
The council’s cabinet committee will be updated on the scheme in July.