THIRSK residents will be charged an average extra 15p a week to help maintain the town’s public toilets and clock tower.

Thirsk Town Council has agreed to raise its council tax demand by around £8,000 to £115,000 to help cover the costs of improving the Millgate toilets, which are seen as necessity for the town’s tourist-based economy.

The authority, which has overseen a range of improvements to the toilets since taking over responsibility for them from Hambleton District Council last year, said it would also install an honesty box in the block in an attempt to get visitors to contribute towards them.

The extra funds will also be used to sandblast the clock tower, which councillors said had become dirty after years of traffic passing through the Market Place.

The work will involve the removal of the clock to prevent dust from jamming the mechanisms. Mayor of Thirsk Councillor Cynthia Hesmondhalgh said it was important the tower, as a focal point in the town centre, looked good.

She said: “We have really worked hard at improving the toilets and if we didn’t have them there we just wouldn’t get the tourists.”