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Salterns toilets, Tenby

Toilet strategy aims to keep conveniences open

Nod strategaeth toiledau yw cadw cyfleusterau ar agor

Plan for future of public toilet facilities prioritises keeping as many conveniences open as possible.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet approved the Local Toilet Strategy 2023 at its meeting on Monday (24th April).

A strategy is required under the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 and aims to encourage a broader consideration of options available for the discretionary provision of toilets for public uses.

It is intended to help address the current challenges faced by Local Authorities in continuing to sustain provision during times of substantial financial pressures.

Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Rhys Sinnett said: “I know in some quarters this strategy is being seen as a plan to close toilets - it really isn't that.

“This administration is doing everything in its power to keep as many of these much needed public conveniences as possible open across the county and indeed invest in them.

“We know that toilets are valued as was highlighted not only in the strategy consultation exercise but also through the significant correspondence the council and ourselves as individual members will have received on this matter and that is exactly why we are looking for sustainable operating models for the future.”

A proposal to use car parking income to fund, and therefore secure the future of, around 20 toilets in or near a Council car park was previously agreed by Cabinet.

Second Home Council Tax Premium monies will be utilised to keep open the rest of the network until November 2023 at the earliest while negotiations with stakeholders including the National Park continue.

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting Cllr Paul Miller, Deputy Leader, made clear his support for keeping as many as possible of the council toilets open.

He added: “It’s clearly not reasonable for some other organisations to receive, in some cases tens of thousands of pounds, of income from car parking, and in some cases additional rental income, but expect PCC to pay for the public conveniences in those car parks.

“That’s not fair to Council Tax payers and I hope through sensible discussion they come to see this.”

Included in the strategy is the ability for the Local Authority to close some toilet facilities where alternative funding, including other public bodies, cannot be found but it is stressed this would be a last resort.

The draft strategy was published on the Have Your Say section of the Council’s website from Wednesday, 1st February to Wednesday, 1st March with online and hard copy response forms available and a total of 226 responses were received.