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Each year St Just Town Council has to work out how much money it needs to raise from local residents, to meet its obligations and ambitions for the community. This amount is known as the precept and it is one of the elements of local residents’ Council Tax. This year, many people will know that Cornwall Council had proposed to put pay and display meters in our car parks in St Just and Pendeen from April 2012. Fewer may be aware that they have also told the Town Council that unless we or another organisation are willing to take over the responsibility for the toilets in Pendeen and St Just they will almost certainly close on 1 April 2012 (people will have read about proposed closures of other public toilets in the county in the Cornishman).

As you can imagine, taking over responsibility for our local car parks and toilets will place a considerable additional burden, both in time and money, on our local town council. If we do not rise to the challenge, on your behalf, we will be a tourist area and local shopping centre with no public toilets, and local people and tourists alike will have to pay a suggested £1 daily charge to go in one of our car parks and that is just the initial proposed charge by Cornwall Council!

Town Councillors are beginning to grapple with what it might mean to run both our car parks and toilets and it is already clear that we have to budget for predictable annual costs, a programme of planned maintenance and some contingency funds for those unexpected events. Cornwall Council is considering what level of grant it may be able to give towards the running of the toilets, for the first two years, but no such transitional help will be available for the car parks and we will likely have to meet a lease charge for all.

So what will this mean to local residents, in terms of their council tax?

To take on both the car parks and toilets St Just Town Council will have to increase its precept. For every £10,000 per year extra we have to raise (about 12.5%) each household would have to pay an additional £5.80 a year, based on a band D home. Obviously car parks and toilets will be just one of the additional costs that the council faces this year so the Town Council will be making challenging decisions when setting the budget in December.

Your local councillors on St Just Town Council hope you agree that keeping our car parks free for use and having public toilets is worth every household paying an extra sum each year and based on this, we plan to keep talking with Cornwall Council.

If you have views or questions you can write to St Just Town Council at 1, Chapel Street, St Just, Penzance, TR19 7LS or email