Wyre Council considers charging disabled for use of public toilets and increasing fees for general public

David Brewin says the proposed 30p charge per loo visit is wrong
David Brewin says the proposed 30p charge per loo visit is wrong
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Controversial proposals to impose charges on disabled loo users  will be considered by Wyre councillors tonight.

A report to Wyre Council’s cabinet proposes stopping the use of Radar keys which give access to thousands of locked disabled facilities nationwide.

Coun Sandra Perkins is "incensed" by the proposal to charge the disabled  for use of a public lavatory

Coun Sandra Perkins is "incensed" by the proposal to charge the disabled for use of a public lavatory

The report also suggests that charges for using public loos in Wyre should rise from 20 p to 30p.

A Public Conveniences Task Group, whose membership includes Garstang Councillor Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins, has made nine recommendations to tonight’s cabinet meeting.

These also include a suggestion a new public lavatory should be built on the A6 at Cabus to prevent environmental health hazards at two local lay-bys where truck drivers have no toilet facilities.

Local businessman David Brewin, of Sweets in Garstang, says the changes are unfair.

He said: “I don’t think it’s right increasing the charge and charging the disabled when it’s been free. And 30p to go to the toilet is a bit wrong.”

But he added as any increase in charges, if approved, would apply across Wyre it would not discourage visitors to the town.

Meanwhile town councillor Sandra Perkins branded the move a “scandal”.

She said: “I’m incensed. I think it’s scandalous to do away with the Radar key.

“If someone is disabled they carry the key, they don’t necessarily carry 30p. It gives them independence.”

It is not clear when any changes would be introduced. The council’s existing contract with Danfo expires in 2022.

Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins said: “We were just keeping up with what other towns and places do. I just think we felt the service they (the public) get there should be an increase.”

She added that another recommendation - to consider using walls or similar spaces at public conveniences for promotions, campaigns, displays and advertising, would enable information to be shared, for example about organisations which help those suffering abuse.

The report notes the 30p charge should be subject to a review of the cost and process of updating coin mechanisms.

Options for making cashless payments to use public toilets should also be “explored and introduced gradually”.

The call for a new toilet in Cabus followed complaints by Cabus parish council that the Fowler Hill and Woodfold Lane laybys present a potential environmental health hazard due to the “dumping of excrement and urine in bottles and bags”.

The parish council said the laybys were being used as main stopping points by commercial trucks.

A spokeswoman at Wyre Council said: "If approved, the council’s anticipated revenue per annum will be altered but by how much depends on users. If approved, we will explore installation of a facility in Cabus."

• Radar keys are large skeleton keys which open more than 10,000 locked, disabled toilets in the UK. The task group said the system is open to abuse as members of the public can purchase such keys cheaply on the internet.