Borough of Poole's Cabinet will be asked to consider and approve plans to introduce a Community Toilet Scheme in Poole Town Centre at their meeting on 9 February 2016.
The scheme is a partnership between the council, local businesses and other partners meaning members of the public can access toilet facilities in scheme members' premises, whether they are a paying customer or not.
The council is looking at different ways to provide access to clean, safe toilets that also provide good value for money. There are 25 public toilets across the borough and the cost of running these is rising as the buildings age, making refurbishment works estimated at £1.3 million over the next 10 years increasingly urgent.
As part of the proposals, Cabinet will also be asked to approve the closure of four public toilet facilities in the town centre located at Chapel Lane, Quay Visitors, Quay Watch Station and Kingland Road Bus Station.
The Council faces severe cuts in government funding and over the last five years it has made savings of almost £60 million. By 2019 this funding for local services will reduce to zero meaning the Council will have to find further savings of £12 million over and above the plans that have already been made.
If approved, it is estimated that the closure of the four Town Centre facilities would provide a saving of £98,000 per year.
Shaun Robson, Head of Environmental and Consumer Protection Services, Borough of Poole, said: "While we understand the importance of our residents and visitors having access to public toilet facilities, the council must also make efficiency savings while meeting growing demand for a number of essential services.
"Similar schemes have been running very successfully in four other areas of the borough for some time now and provides a way we can still offer the public modern, clean and safe facilities that are accessible to all. Providing access to facilities which are in staffed premises could also reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and consequently improve the feeling of safety and wellbeing in the local community."
Poole launched its first Community Toilet Scheme in Broadstone in August 2013, followed by Canford Heath in September 2013, and Hamworthy and Parkstone in March 2014.
Participating businesses receive a fee from the council to cover their costs and will display a 'use our loo' sticker in their window to show their facilities are available.
Invitations to join the scheme have been issued to 22 premises in the Town Centre area and officers will continue to contact and advertise the scheme here to see if further interest can be generated should it be approved.
Four premises have shown interest in the scheme to date, including Poole Museum, The Lighthouse, Sainsbury's and The Spire Cafe. It is proposed that the reprovision of these four toilets together with the existing two facilities in the Dolphin Shopping Centre and Dolphin Quays would still create a better, cleaner and more attractive service than existing council run facilities provide.
See our web page about the Community Toilet Scheme and the full Public Toilet Review report for Cabinet for more information.