Posted: Sat 25th Nov 2023

Conwy Councillors Support Public Toilet Strategy to Cut Costs and Improve Facilities

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Nov 25th, 2023

Conwy councillors backed a public toilet strategy proposing to increase charges on pay-as-you-go toilets, transfer management to town councils, or even ‘drastically reduce’ the number of facilities.
The council currently manages 48 public toilets as well as 22 baby-changing facilities.
During the summer the various public toilets are opened daily between 7am and 10am. They then close between 7pm and 9 pm but shut between 4.30 pm and 5.30 pm in the winter months.
Two toilets are staffed daily at Betws y Coed and Llandudno and cleaned at regular intervals whilst other sites are attended in rounds during the day.
But cash-strapped Conwy says the service is now proving too expensive, despite council tax increasing by 9.9% this year and services seeing budgets slashed by 10%.
Consequently, the economy and place overview and scrutiny committee met this week to discuss the local toilet strategy.
The strategy proposes the council explore numerous options to reduce the cost and improve the quality of public facilities.
These include transferring public toilets to local groups or town councils, opening existing council buildings and offices to the public, paying more local businesses to allow the public to use facilities, reviewing the charges for toilets, targeting grants, and drastically reducing the number of facilities.
Following a public consultation – that closed last week – the strategy will be discussed by cabinet before it is progressed.
Cabinet member for the environment, roads, and facilities and infrastructure Cllr Goronwy Edwards introduced the report.
“Managing these expectations within the available budget has become increasingly challenging as we’ve had to find significant savings over the last couple of years,” he said.
“Keeping the facilities safe and clean and in good condition will require alternative solutions to maintain a robust service with the available budget.”
Council facilities manager Gary Williams said Conwy weren’t attempting to pass the buck.
“We acknowledge and accept there will be worries,” he said.
“There will be some who will consider this to be a passing-the-buck situation, which it really isn’t. It’s all about delivering a strategy at the end that will give the users and the residents, and our visitors in particular, the facilities that we hope we can deliver within budget, of course.”
Cllr Tom Montgomery said the toilets were being offloaded by the council.
Cllr Bernice McLoughlin described the current facilities in Towyn as disgusting and criticised council officers for poor communication.
“I represent Towyn. As the officers are aware, there has been major problems in Towyn with the toilets,” she said.
“We have portacabins that are, frankly, absolutely disgusting. There’s been poor communication with me. There has been very poor communication with my town council, and emails have not been responded to from the town council.”
“There are no toilets from Abergele through to Rhyl, a four or five-mile strip. No public toilets. Look at the tourism that comes into Towyn and Kinmel Bay. There are no council buildings until you get to Kinmel Bay. Anybody with a child is desperate.”
Cllr Sian Grady said Conwy town, a World Heritage Site, only had one public toilet at the back of the Civic Hall, which could soon be redeveloped.
“Conwy is my ward, and we’ve got three toilets,” she said.
“One has been closed a while. One is broken, but there’s no budget to repair it, and the other one is tied up with the Civic Hall, and if that one goes, we haven’t got any. So considering it is a World Heritage Site… For the Conwy Half Marathon, we had over 3,000 people in Conwy all asking ‘where can we go to the toilet?’ And I didn’t know what to tell them to be honest because there wasn’t anywhere.”
But Cllr Goronwy Edwards said portacabin toilets were provided for the marathon on Conwy Quay.
The strategy will now be discussed by Conwy’s cabinet.

By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter



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