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Ledbury taxpayers could spend more than a penny on toilets
LEDBURY could lose one toilet block in November unless the town council comes up with the cash and a plan to save it.
Herefordshire Council has not yet told the town council which block is to close, the one in Bye Street or the one in Church Lane: but town councillors are already calling for an action plan so that the cost of saving the threatened facility will be known in advance.
The council tax charged by the town council may have to rise if a toilet block is taken on.
Coun Annette Crowe, chairman of the Ledbury Trader’s Association, said: “We have to look forward, and the precept for the council tax may have to go up.
“We cannot afford to lose those toilets.”
A meeting of Ledbury Town Council heard the Herefordshire Council figure for running the two toilet blocks in Ledbury was £25,000 per annum.
But Coun Crowe suggested that the town council could operate a toilet block more cheaply.
She said: “That figure is ridiculous – they must have the best paid toilet cleaner I’ve ever seen.”
Coun Liz Harvey, a town councillor and a Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, suggested that the town council should get quotes to ascertain the level of expenditure which would be required to run a toilet block.
This was agreed by a vote.
But not every councillor was happy with the focus on the toilets alone.
Coun Clive Jupp said the town council needed a list of all the services in Ledbury which could be “devolved” by Herefordshire Council as a costcutting measure – that is, passed onto another group such as the town council – or closed down.
He said: “We are not treating this issue properly. The problem isn’t us; it’s Herefordshire Council.”
Coun Jupp said the town council was still waiting on a list of the likely devolved services in Ledbury and the list was needed “so that ball-park figures can be put before the public”.
Ledbury’s mayor, Coun Terry Widdows, said he would put in another request to Herefordshire Council for the list.
Coun Jupp suggested that a referendum should be held to guage public opinion on the idea of the town council taking on services that are currently paid for by Herefordshire Council.
He said: “If it is between a hoik in the precept and losing the loos, I know which way the voters will go.”
A Herefordshire Council spokesman said: “In 2012/13, Herefordshire Council spent £26,910 on two public conveniences in Ledbury.
“This amount includes rates, water, electricity and cleaning but excludes the cost of maintenance or any repairs.”
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