Secret plans are being developed by Labour controlled Thanet District Council (TDC) to introduce charges for using its 27 public toilets.
Although no official announcement has yet been made it is clear from several documents I have seen that a “Pay to Pooh n Pee Tax” is being seriously considered by TDC officers and senior councillors including Council Leader “Raging” Rick Everitt and his “under investigation” sidekick Steve Albon.
The idea to tax bodily functions goes back to 2022 when TDC, then a Tory controlled council, became worried about the financial stability of its contractor, Your Leisure Limited (YL), which was, as I exposed at the time, teetering on the verge of insolvency.
Should YL have collapsed then TDC as the company’s financial guarantor would have been forced to pay off £8million million in YL loans and cover a £1.5 million shortfall in its dangerously underfunded employee pension scheme. The clearing of these debts would very likely have brought the cash strapped Council to its knees.
To prevent such a catastrophic outcome TDC decided to take back, mothball, and ultimately sell off the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal which were in 2022 being managed by YL. This move coupled with additional TDC support payments to YL and a £million plus emergency loan from Lloyds Bank have just about kept YL afloat.
But the company’s future still hangs perilously by a thread. Its accounts for year ending 31 March 2023 show YL to have made a trading loss of £525, 000 and to have totally exhausted its rainy day reserves. Which brings us to the secret plans to tax the excremental needs of Thanet’s residents and visitors.
When the transfer of the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal from YL to TDC were being discussed an official council report also said that the contractual relationship between YL and TDC should be reviewed with a view to the expansion of its “foreshore services” including but not limited to YL’s involvement in “coastal toilet provision”.
Fast forward to 2023 and just last week Council Leader Rick Everitt is reported by the media as saying that the council is in conversations with YL about taking over the council’s public toilets, but that no firm plans have yet been agreed.
The first group of toilets to handed over to YL are 7 seafront located blocks which, according to a council report, will be refurbished and upgraded in time for the 2024 summer season. They are:-
· St Mildred’s Bay, Westgate (£18k)
· West Bay, Westgate (£36k)
· Joss Bay (£21k)
· Broadstairs Harbour (£72k)
· The Centre, Margate (£13k)
· Ramsgate Pier Yard (£39k)
· Viking Bay (chalet block) (£80k)
The report makes it clear that the remaining 20 TDC public toilets will be refurbished, improved, or demolished and replaced, in the next two years. These toilets also appear likely to be handed over to YL.
But how can a technically bankrupt YL afford to manage and maintain 27 public toilets? Don’t forget that it was only last year that the council snatched the Winter Gardens and the Theatre Royal away from YL control because it was felt that the company couldn’t properly manage these properties yet now it wants to handover the upkeep of public toilets to a clearly failed and failing company. Where the sense in that?
Simple. The answer is to allow YL to do something that the Labour controlled council wouldn’t dare, because of its huge vote losing unpopularity, to do itself introduce charges for using public
Instead the spineless double act, Everitt and Albon, appear to have cynically manoeuvred YL into being the fall guy for what will be a very unpopular decision.
Forgive the pun, but this is what I call taking the piss out of Thanet’s voters, or as others may more politely say is a cynical exercise of political deception and dishonesty by the Labour Party.
However you might describe it, this secret khazi conspiracy was planned to be dumped on people without any prior warning or any public consultation whatsoever, especially with the many community groups and charities who represent people who rely on access to public toilets and who should not be forced to pay for their use.
The big question is what price a pooh or pee might my cost you if you were to visit Thanet’s beautiful coast this coming summer? Well if Brighton is anything to go by it could be 75p, or perhaps even more, only payable by credit card.
I am sure that hundreds of pissed off residents and visitors will, just like Southern Water, unlawfully deposit vast quantities of pee and pooh on Thanet’s beaches and into the sea this summer, and on streets, alleyways and public spaces.
The summer of 2024 could easily, because of Labour council bosses Everitt and Albon's secrecy about public toilet charging, become a self-generated, but well deserved, shitstorm.