“Pembrokeshire to Keep 60 Public Toilets Open Despite Closure Threats, Council Confirms”
60 of Pembrokeshire’s 68 public toilets will be kept open despite fears many more of them were under threat of potential closure, senior councillors heard yesterday, December 4.
Due to financial constraints, the February meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet listed 34 of its 68 toilets at potential risk of closure if community asset transfers to town and community councils or other sources of funding weren’t agreed.
Since then, there has been good news for some of the closure-threatened toilets, with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority agreeing to fund 10 coastal facilities for two years, and the county council funding Dale facilities from its car parking budget.
At Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet meeting of December 4, members – along with receiving an update on the situation – considered eight exception requests for toilets at risk of closure from town and community councils who feel they have been disproportionately financially affected.
Cabinet members backed a recommendation to continue to fund Tenby North Beach, with investigation of income-generating opportunities such as charging to use or linking to other sources of funding.
It is also backed Abereiddy’s toilets remaining open until March 31, 2025 while funding avenues are fully explored.
Cwm yr Eglwys has been given a June 30, 2024 date, with the facility at Pwllgwaelod to continue.
An April 8 closure date was backed for several other facilities if funding can’t be found: Carew, Moylegrove, Newgale South, and Nolton Haven (the latter both currently closed for the winter).
Conversations are ongoing for town and community councils to either fund, lease or asset transfer seven facilities, including Newport Parrog.
Facilities at Abercastle, Amroth East, Bryn Road St Davids, Creswell Quay, Kilgetty, and Neyland Marina will stay open until April 8, after which time they will be closed unless funding has been agreed.
An exception was made in the case of Newport Parrog, with an extension to September 30, due to complexities at this site.
A 50 per cent funding offer for Bosherston toilets for two seasons by the National Trust was refused, with an April 8 closure date on the cards.
Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Rhys Sinnett said positive progress had been made “in seeking to sustain a network across the county,” with “complex and delicate negotiations with stakeholders”.
Cllr Jon Harvey said he was proud of the work that had gone on, adding: “To get to a situation where we have saved so many through cooperation is extremely positive; 60 of 68 are effectively remaining open, an excellent, excellent result.”
He asked if further negotiations with the “rather wealthy charity” the National Trust could take place over Bosherston, with the possibility of the trust funding the toilets 100 per cent, with Cllr Sinnett agreeing to further discussions.
Cllr Neil Prior said the potential toilet closures were “a difficult decision driven by the funding crisis we’ve been facing,” adding: “Officers and members have worked incredibly hard to get us to this point, nobody wanted to close any toilets.”
Council leader Cllr David Simpson said: “It’s wonderful we’re saving 60 out of 68 toilets, a very reasonable and sensible solution in the end; we might be able wangle a few more to stay open.”
Legal avenues are being explored for two facilities with a view to close Burton and Oriel Y Parc St David’s, with facilities at Marloes village now closed as no alternative funder has come forward.
The decision on the Tenby toilets was welcomed by Mayor Cllr Dai Morgan and local county councillor Sam Skyrme-Blackhall after the meeting.
Tenby Town Council have agreed to fund costs of keeping the toilets open in Upper Frog St, which means that there will be no toilet closures in the town.
Cllr Morgan said: “This is good news for the town, and I am grateful that Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet listened to our strong case.”
Cllr Skyrme-Blackhall praised the decision and thanked the cabinet for their support, adding “Sometimes things take time to sort out, but we have been working hard behind the scenes and I am delighted at the outcome.”
In the north of the county, Cllr Huw Murphy welcomed the news the Pwllgwaelod public toilets will remain open.
“Cwm yr Eglwys toilets (seasonal opening) remains a work in progress but will remain open until at least June 30 while efforts to secure funding to retain permanently are ongoing.”
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