Portsmouth council plans £330,000 extra spending spree on public toilets in the city
A COUNCIL is looking at allocating an extra £330,000 to cater for residents who need to spend a penny.
Portsmouth City Council has revealed it is proposing spending the cash in its budget for next year.
It is already spending £180,000 on building public toilets, such as those under way at College Park and Kingston Rec, and is bidding to spend another £200,000 on top of this.
In addition to this it is planning to spend £130,000 on improving handwashing facilities across the city – if this is agreed the council will begin a programme of replacing the handwasher and dryer systems in public toilets over the next few months. It will also install more alcohol-free hand sanitiser dispensers.
Cllr Dave Ashmore, cabinet member for environment and community safety at the Liberal Democrat-run Portsmouth City Council, says: ‘We are committed to improving public facilities in the city and the proposed funding will enable the council to do this.’
But the plan has drawn an angry response from the leader of the Tory group, Cllr Donna Jones.
She said after the Liberal Democrats closed public toilets across the city in 2014, it was the Tory group that had taken action to reopen them.
‘We put money in our budget this time last year – this is just rehashing Conservative ideas,’ she said. ‘Once again the Lib Dems are late to the party. We have always been the party that protects public toilets. In 2014 I was inundated by people who said they didn’t want to go to the seafront because the toilets had been closed.’
Cllr Jones said she also had worries about the cash that is proposed for handwashing facilities across the city.
‘I’m concerned about the amount of money on washing facilities,’ she added. ‘The Conservatives have always been able to drive better deals, as we are better at procurement and purchasing.’
The funding is being recommended as part of Portsmouth City Council's capital budget which will go before the city's cabinet and full council for approval in February.
The capital budget invests in a range of infrastructure schemes throughout the city like buildings and facilities, rather than the day-to-day running of council services that have to be paid through a separate revenue budget.