A PLAN to spend £1.8 million on refurbishing public toilets has been backed by councillors.

The draft strategy involves refurbishing and, in one case, replacing some 30 toilets owned by Scarborough Council, as well as looking at partnering with businesses to offer more places for people to spend a penny.

The council’s overview and scrutiny board endorsed its conclusions for the way ahead.

A report, prepared for the board, noted: “The condition of a large number of council toilets is very poor and many are in urgent need of repair, attracting substantial negative publicity and poor customer satisfaction.”

The new strategy proposes spending £1.1m on the toilets in 2020 and 2021. A further £700,000 is then predicted by the authority to be needed between 2022 and 2025 in order to bring the facilities up to scratch. The money will also be used to ensure that all toilets are maintained to a high standard and are accessible to all.

The strategy will also investigate the viability of a “community toilet scheme” where shops, pubs and restaurants are paid between £500 and £1,000 a year to open their toilets to the public without an expectation of them having to make a purchase.

Signs would be put in the windows of businesses taking part to make people aware of which premises were taking part in the scheme.

Cllr Mike Cockerill (Cluster of Independent Members) said to his fellow councillors that he was both “relieved and most pleased” to find that no closures of toilets had been proposed as part of the strategy.

Board chairman Cllr Guy Coulson (Con) added: “I think the strategy as a whole is a very good way forward.”

Labour councillor Subash Sharma cautioned that the authority would have to mindful of the price it charged for its pay-on-entry toilets, saying the current 40p charge may be too high.

The board voted unanimously to support the strategy.