Spending fewer pennies could save thousands
2:40pm Saturday 16th March 2013 in County News
A consultation will be held on the potential closure of nearly a third of all public toilets in Pembrokeshire.
Members of the county environment overview and scrutiny committee approved a recommendation to start a consultation with people who would be affected by the removal of 28 of the 93 council-owned toilets.
A strategy will also be developed for the remaining 65 maintained by the council with a view to making further savings. The council’s current stock costs £1.5m a year to maintain and removing 28 toilets could save around £135,000 a year.
Public toilet provision is not a statutory function and the current number equates to 7.9 toilet blocks per 10,000 head of population – the highest in Wales.
Toilets under review include Croesgoch, Dinas Cross, Letterston, Fishguard Square, St Davids, Trefin, Llangwm Black Tar, Newgale and St Ishmaels.
The council is looking into giving town and community councils or other interested parties the opportunity to operate and maintain the toilets.
The second option is to close them and dispose of the buildings.
Solva County Councillor Lyn Jenkins said her local community council would not be in a financial position to operate toilets.
But director of transportation, housing and environment Ian Westley said: “This council is in exactly the same position as that tiny little council and some councils are financially in a better position than we are to be able to operate these.”
Dinas Cross County Councillor Bob Kilmister said no alternative provision was available in some areas.
“There is no way I can vote for those to be closed because I do not think they can be,” he added.
Cabinet member for environment and regulatory services Councillor Huw George said it was worth asking the hard questions.
He added: “If a community council cannot afford it, why ask us to afford it?
Secondly, if we are not going to do this, how are we going to save the money?”
The council needs to save £8.6m over the next three years.