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> Thatcham Toilets To close?
nerc
post Jan 11 2015, 07:33 PM
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Again West Berks off load the toilets to a town council and dont want to support the annual running costs.
I as a local Thatcham resident would more than happy to pay an extra £25.00 per year on my local council tax to ensure that the council keep the toilets open for public use.
Your thoughts and comments?
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Gazzadp
post Jan 11 2015, 09:31 PM
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Oh dear that might make one or two people on facebook unhappy, as where will the w anchors go instead?


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Simon Kirby
post Jan 11 2015, 09:49 PM
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QUOTE (nerc @ Jan 11 2015, 07:33 PM) *
Again West Berks off load the toilets to a town council and dont want to support the annual running costs.
I as a local Thatcham resident would more than happy to pay an extra £25.00 per year on my local council tax to ensure that the council keep the toilets open for public use.
Your thoughts and comments?

I don't know. To make an informed opinion I'd want to know what both WBC and TTC were currently spending my tax on, and I don't know that. With WBC it's difficult because it's a big organisation that isn't particularly open with its accounts so I have only the vaguest idea of how efficient it is. With TTC it should be easier to understand how well they spend the precept, but it wouldn't be fair to assume that TTC spend it as frivolously as NTC.

I agree that in general public toilets are an essential common good which should be maintained at public expense, and if this was being proposed in Newbury I'd be making the usual arguments about the Town Council first saving the more than £250,000 annually that they squitter away on self-serving busy-work. I don't know what the situation is at TTC, but I don't like the idea of paying more tax.


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x2lls
post Jan 11 2015, 10:17 PM
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Probably more like 25 pence per head.
If all paid an extra £25, I'd expect gold plated taps!!


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Strafin
post Jan 11 2015, 11:56 PM
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QUOTE (nerc @ Jan 11 2015, 07:33 PM) *
Again West Berks off load the toilets to a town council and dont want to support the annual running costs.
I as a local Thatcham resident would more than happy to pay an extra £25.00 per year on my local council tax to ensure that the council keep the toilets open for public use.
Your thoughts and comments?

I would imagine it would cost more than £25 a year though.
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Simon Kirby
post Jan 12 2015, 07:34 AM
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A quick look suggests that £1 on the precept will raise around £10k of revenue,so at a guess I'd say you're talking about an annual increase of £2.50 for the toilets, that's around 3% of the precept.

It's a matter for the Thatcham parishioners to decide if this is appropriate but if it was me I'd want a lot more clarity on where my existing tax is being spent before accepting an increase without complaint.


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On the edge
post Jan 12 2015, 11:04 AM
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As Simon says, the accounting and reporting processes are so opaque that its hard to make an informed decision. For instance, WBC will be saving money from the operational budgets by not running the toilets. Will that money really be used to make good government imposed cuts in other critical and necessary services? What about the capital cost of the toilet building and the question of rent, does the parish get the building, or does it catch a lease? So there is a good bit of negotiation and staff work to be paid for as well; all of which is really wasted because its between to intimately connected local councils. That may seem dramatic, but it took a year plus to sort the legal bits out when Victoria Park was transferred(ish) to NTC. Staff work isn't free or cheap. Frankly, I have no issue with the local people running and managing their local services, if Thatcham wants public loos, and is willing to pay, then so be it - but then lets get rid of the myth that WBC is a unitary authority. We need some very clear definitions of what a Unitary Authority and what a Parish Council is there to do, and this shouldn't be simply altered to suit short term political expediency.


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Simon Kirby
post Jan 12 2015, 01:08 PM
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Here's a briefing paper prepared by the council early last year. Total cost appears to be nearer to £60k, which seems like a lot. I guestimate that to be around £6 on the overage precept.


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On the edge
post Jan 12 2015, 01:25 PM
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That's a good paper which shows exactly what game WBC are playing. Essentially, it's 'take it or leave it' - simply cough up with no questions and do exactly what WE want. Frankly, the charges do seem excessive, arguably that's a full time cleaner. I love the bit where it talks about being 'duty bound to find best value' if the Parish Council dared suggest they would take over....no kids you aren't, sort yourselves out. It's exactly this bureaucratic nonsence that gets local government such a bad name.


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Simon Kirby
post Jan 12 2015, 01:47 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jan 12 2015, 01:25 PM) *
That's a good paper which shows exactly what game WBC are playing. Essentially, it's 'take it or leave it' - simply cough up with no questions and do exactly what WE want. Frankly, the charges do seem excessive, arguably that's a full time cleaner. I love the bit where it talks about being 'duty bound to find best value' if the Parish Council dared suggest they would take over....no kids you aren't, sort yourselves out. It's exactly this bureaucratic nonsence that gets local government such a bad name.

Yes, it's a well-presented argument, and of the many features that sets TTC appart from NTC is that the briefing paper is made publicly available.

And yes, WBC's negotiating strategy is about as subtle as a mugger in an underpass.


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motormad
post Jan 12 2015, 04:16 PM
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If they close I'll have to start weeing on the trees again.


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Nothing Much
post Jan 12 2015, 04:36 PM
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What's wrong with the 3rd rail game.
Shucks, they have made that difficult with overhead power!
ce
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nerc
post Jan 12 2015, 05:04 PM
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£35,000 per annum for cleaning and staff ?.

The attendant does the cleaning as i understand and receives a salary of £19.000.

Whos ripping who off?.
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On the edge
post Jan 12 2015, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (Nothing Much @ Jan 12 2015, 04:36 PM) *
What's wrong with the 3rd rail game.
Shucks, they have made that difficult with overhead power!
ce


We are ahead of you there CE - why do you think we keep banging on about a bridge over the crossing at Thatcham. Upped the odds too - it's a higher voltage!


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Simon Kirby
post Jan 12 2015, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE (nerc @ Jan 12 2015, 05:04 PM) *
£35,000 per annum for cleaning and staff ?.

The attendant does the cleaning as i understand and receives a salary of £19.000.

Whos ripping who off?.

A good question, and there may indeed be a perfectly good answer, but if I were a Thatcham resident that's where I'd want to start.


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blackdog
post Jan 13 2015, 04:25 PM
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QUOTE (nerc @ Jan 12 2015, 05:04 PM) *
£35,000 per annum for cleaning and staff ?.

The attendant does the cleaning as i understand and receives a salary of £19.000.

Whos ripping who off?.

On costs of less than 100% are actually quite low - this is the cost of employing someone and comprises pension payments, employer's tax commitments and a share of all the management overheads - costs of management staff undertaking overhead activities (HR, H&S etc) including their office space, heating, business rates etc. In the case of a toilet cleaner I guess there aren't many direct overhead costs (ie their office and heating costs).

TTC on costs should differ from WBC's - which may change the running costs.
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On the edge
post Jan 13 2015, 04:59 PM
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That's a fair point and even more interesting. Can we therefore assume that this cost would consequently become lower if Thatcham took over as their management overhead must be lower than WBCs? The numbers would also suggest this is a full time permanent employee, which from my limited knowledge of that area, seems rather excessive. Arguably, two hours a day would probably suffice; which could then be done on a casual basis - so eliminating most of the rest of the overhead......however, I'm sure all these cost saving possibilities have already been explored at length by the WBC managers.

Even more interesting would be the 'investigation to find out how much the site would be worth'. Trying to turn an ex public lavatory into a chic restaurant might be a viable consideration in Central London if the building had architectural charms or historic merit...but in a Berkshire village? ...still at least it would keep WBC property staff busy busy for a good couple of months.


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Simon Kirby
post Jan 13 2015, 07:26 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Jan 13 2015, 04:25 PM) *
On costs of less than 100% are actually quite low - this is the cost of employing someone and comprises pension payments, employer's tax commitments and a share of all the management overheads - costs of management staff undertaking overhead activities (HR, H&S etc) including their office space, heating, business rates etc. In the case of a toilet cleaner I guess there aren't many direct overhead costs (ie their office and heating costs).

TTC on costs should differ from WBC's - which may change the running costs.

Hmmm, I'm pretty sure I remember you arguing strenuously that I was wrong to apportion back-office administration costs to direct service costs in order to arrive at a true market cost of a service (my doing so was one of the reasons NTC declared me to be a Vexation Complainant). Anyhoo, what you say here is right.


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NWNREADER
post Jan 13 2015, 09:51 PM
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Of course, there is absolutely no saving whatsoever, the cost is merely transferred from WBC Council Tax to Thatcham Town Council precept (not subject to cap).
Were the block to close WBC would retain the costs, and would also have to cope with the complaints from shopkeepers and citizens re the whiff of urine (or worse) when the populace are caught short on the way home......
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spartacus
post Jan 13 2015, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jan 13 2015, 04:59 PM) *
Even more interesting would be the 'investigation to find out how much the site would be worth'. Trying to turn an ex public lavatory into a chic restaurant might be a viable consideration in Central London if the building had architectural charms or historic merit...but in a Berkshire village? ...still at least it would keep WBC property staff busy busy for a good couple of months.

oh I don't know.... it seems you can never have enough coffee shops... so that would be an ideal site and centrally located with a couple of benches around the war memorial (provided the tramps and Special Brew Brigade allow you to use the area)
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