The cost of spending a penny in Ceredigion’s paid-for public toilets could soon rise, a doubling in two years, in order to save the cash-strapped council £100,000.

In a documents before Ceredigion County Council’s meeting of February 29, where councillors will debate the budget, including a proposed 11.1 per cent council tax rise, members will hear increased charges, from 30p to 40p, along with the possibility of town and community councils running toilets in their areas, are one of 70 cost-saving measures recommended.

An integrated impact assessment for members on the potential changes says: “It is proposed to reduce the overall cost of public toilet provision to the council by £100,000 during 2024/25.

“There is currently a deficit between cost of provision (£300,000) and income from charging (£90,000).  This is to be achieved by an increase in fees from 30p to 40p, changes to operational costs by tailoring the level cleaning to usage of toilets and support or transfer from town and community councils.

“The IIA for the fees and charges has already addressed the potential impacts of charging. These will be repeated here together with an input on the potential impact of changes to operational costs and working with town and community councils.

“The changes will contribute to the council delivering a balanced budget and is in line with the council’s income management and service cost recovery policy where services are expected to aim for full cost recovery wherever possible.

“The proposal relies on a combination of increasing income and reducing spend to reduce the current deficit, whilst maintaining provision. The changes though will not achieve fill cost recovery on 2024/25.”

The report adds: “The current public toilet strategy was subject to consultation. This is currently being reviewed. The strategy seeks to maintain appropriate provision whilst introducing measures that achieve full cost recovery.   Proposals have however been through the relevant Budget Scrutiny committees.”

It says Radar keys will continue to be available, at a cost, for those who have additional needs to access public conveniences.

On the general usage cost increase, it says: “There are alternatives in some locations though such as in supermarkets and cafés.  During 2023/24 fees were increased from 20p to 30p and no drop in demand was experienced so it is expected the current proposed increase will have a minimal impact.”

It adds: “Discussions are also ongoing with a number of community & town councils to transfer the running of the public conveniences to them as they may be able to operate them at a lower cost than Ceredigion County Council.

“Without taking this approach the service offered may cease or significantly reduce in some areas.  This would have a far greater negative impact to the council’s Corporate Well-being Objectives than these proposals.”