AN IMPROVED locking mechanism costing nearly £2,500 per unit is to be installed on public toilets in Blandford in a bid to cut down on vandalism and repairs which have cost a total £1,855 since March 2010.
Operation of the facility in the Marsh & Ham car park has been at a net cost to the town council of nearly £4,000 a year, with income of £4,500 offsetting £7,000 for cleaning and over £3,000 for rates, electricity, water and maintenance.
Councillors were told that this did not include the time spent by staff responding to problems, and the inconvenience of the units remaining closed until the locks could be repaired.
But removing the coin operated mechanisms and making the toilets free of charge would mean the loss of £4,500 per annum in income.
After considering a report from grounds and property manager Jon Goodenough which examined alternatives available and the experience of other town councils, it was agreed to replace the mechanism with a more up to date and vandal proof system at a cost of £2,450 per unit.
CCTV coverage is now in place to overlook the toilet block, and will, it is hoped, lead to a decrease in vandalism.