Agenda and minutes

Virtual meeting, Cabinet - Thursday, 18th June, 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: Online via the Zoom app.

Contact: Amanda Coombes, Democratic Services Officer  01395 517543 or email


No. Item


Public speaking


There were 2 members of the public wishing to speak.


Councillor Ian Barlow Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council spoke of his concern over the lack of toilets open in the town especially with the run of good weather there had been recently as well as forecasted in the near future. Sidmouth Town Council contributes £40k to EDDC to run the toilets, Cllr Barlow felt they were not getting their fair share of this service. East Devon benefits from toilet facilities being open in order to look favourably to residents and visitors. Opening the toilets was better than the alternative of people using outdoor spaces as an option to relieve themselves. The financial aspects of opening the toilets could be dealt with at a later date. This was an urgent public health matter, the toilets needed to be opened now.


In answer to a question Cllr Barlow confirmed that the Town Council had funded the building of 4 new toilets on the seafront which were to be opened shortly. He said he knew toilet provision was a discretionary service EDDC provided but it was an important service to the town and part of the overall package. If people were being encouraged to come here then they had to be given such facilities.


Councillor Colin Pady represented the views from Colyton Parish Council. He was concerned over the haste in which the Cabinet meeting had be convened but understood the need for the debate concerning the opening of toilet facilities in the district. Residents in Colyton were concerned that toilets were still closed and wished to have them opened as quickly as possible for themselves as well as supporting tourism, even if it meant voluntary help for extra cleaning the toilets. There was a growing elderly population in East Devon who had an increasing need for public conveniences.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 179 KB


The minutes of Cabinet held on 9 June 2020 were confirmed as a true record.


Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest


Minute 175. Reinstating StreetScene seasonal resource and additional budget to allow improved public toilet opening.

Councillor John Loudoun, Personal, is a member of Sidmouth Town Council.


Minute 175. Reinstating StreetScene seasonal resource and additional budget to allow improved public toilet opening.

Councillor Paul Hayward, Personal, works for a parish council that has a toilet leased by EDDC.



Matters of urgency

There is one urgent item relating to the seasonal resource and additional budget to allow improved public toilet opening, which is to be dealt with at item 7.


There was one item that was dealt with in this way recorded under minute 175.


Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the Press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.


There were no items that officers recommended should be dealt with in this way.


Reinstating StreetScene seasonal resource and additional budget to allow improved public toilet opening pdf icon PDF 698 KB


The Service Lead StreetScene confirmed that the detail was in the report and highlighted the two elements that were to be debated - reinstating the seasonal resource of agency staff and the need to open more toilets for longer hours with improved facilities. He stated there had been no specific Government guidance about opening public toilets in order to be COVID-19 compliant. The rules/guidance in the report were based on the extensive Covid-19 secure guidance issued by the government related to how businesses should re-open safely (including shops with facilitates for customers such as toilets and changing rooms), as well as guidelines for operators of outdoor facilities. All the guidance mentions improved cleaning frequency and hygiene standards, better signage, frequency of hand washing and cleaning after every use (for changing rooms). As soon as guidance concerning public toilets became available the present position would be reviewed. He spoke of the need to provide this important service and that it was linked directly to EDDC’s economic recovery and tourist industry.


The Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment said at the start of the COVID-19 emergency all the district’s public conveniences were locked to comply with government emergency measures. When the government relaxed the regulations for people to travel and to use beaches, EDDC reacted swiftly to open 10 of its public conveniences under strict government guidance and risk assessments. That was at Easter and things had moved on since then with the need to consider opening more toilets and over a longer period of time with limited funding. He suggested Town and Parish councils help get the message across for the public to take their litter home to relieve the pressure on StreetScene operatives.


Discussions included the following:

·       The need to ensure safety to StreetScene operatives when dealing with heavier bins due to increased usage

·       8pm was too early to lock the toilets up for the day

·       To ensure public health there must be more toilets available

·       The need to support and boost town centres and businesses, tourism was vital for the area

·       Ensure we give the service East Devon residents expect from us

·       The need to provide more toilets as we approach the summer months

·       This was a difficult decision as we cannot open all the toilets due to financial constraints stemming from the COVID-19 situation

·       This would give the local economy the chance to bounce back and for East Devon to recover

·       If businesses don't survive over the next six months they would be in an even worse situation than they were now.

·       The need to look seriously in opening as many of the proposed toilets as we can to get the tourists back

·       Sadly there was a minority that did not all share the same level of public decency respect for public facilities and restraint, with hand sanitizers as an example, being stolen or vandalised at a cost to the council

·       The virus was still contagious, there was an underlying public health issue to keep people safe  ...  view the full minutes text for item 175.