Counting the cost of a town 'loo clerk'

LEDBURY town council will be spending more than a few pennies on a ‘toilet clerk’, a councillor has warned.

The appointment of the clerk could cost the town council £34 per hour, seven-and-half hours a week, if councillors agree to take on the Church Lane toilets.

That is the administration figure put forward by Councillor Clive Jupp at a town council budget meeting, and it does not include cleaning costs.

The annual cost of running the toilets could be as high as £26,000 – described by the meeting as a “worse case scenario”.

Church Lane public toilets were set to close last month before Ledbury Town Council agreed to take them over from cash-strapped Herefordshire Council to the end of the financial year.

The town council now has to come up with a rescue plan or see them close.

Coun Jupp, who provided the figure for budget discussions, said: “I think we would be crazy to take on the toilets as a town council.”

Coun Annette Crowe, in response to the figure, said: “It looks as if 50 per cent of costs is for one day a week – for the toilet clerk to do what?”

The meeting heard that an important task of the toilet clerk could be to find extra funding for the toilets in 2014, to lessen the financial burden on the town council.

Coun Jupp said: “We need someone to get funding in, otherwise we are taking funding out of the budget.”

But the idea that town clerk Karen Mitchell could take on the task was challenged.

Coun Tony Bradford said: “We can't expect the town clerk to take on this, over and above what she is already doing.”

Coun Liz Harvey, a town councillor and a Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, urged caution in advance of a forthcoming working party report on likely toilet costs.

She said: “I think we just need to be careful, so we don’t mislead people about the cost of the loos.”

But Coun Jupp said: “We have put in here what we believe are the real figures – figures from the last meeting to have something to work with.”

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