COUNCIL bosses want shops to make it easier for people to spend a penny as part of a shake-up of public toilets.

Tendring Council already operates more than 40 public loos across the district.

However, it wants stores and pubs to open their toilets to the public so people don’t get caught short.

Peter Halliday, councillor responsible for finance, said the council needed to look at “rationalising” its public conveniences. But he denied the move was in response to funding cuts or would lead to widespread closures.

“It is a full-scale review – not full-scale closure,” said Mr Halliday.

“We have more than 40 public toilets across the district which cost an awful lot of money to keep open and maintain.

“We need to look at what we have got, what we need, and make decisions about which we close and which we improve.

“We should be doing that whether we are facing cuts or not.”

The council has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on new loos in Frinton and Dovercourt.

Mr Halliday said the authority had to look at the overall service as part of an ongoing spending review.

The council could hold talks with retailers, including restaurants and supermarkets, to see if they will allow the public to use their toilets instead of restricting facilities to customers.

Mr Halliday said: “For example, there are no public toilets in Great Clacton and no suitable place for them, but we could ask the pub if it would make its available to the general public.”

The council could also look at whether to charge people to use its loos and if public toilets should be staffed.