THE CLOSURE of public toilets in West Street Car Park, Fishguard, during the busy summer season has been branded "a disgrace" by the town's mayor.

Visitors to the town last Monday, July 22, found the toilets in West Street Car Park boarded up with a notice saying that the toilets are now closed and with directions to the new facilities in Fordd yr Efail.

The new toilets have already come under fire for costing 40p for a visit and not being accessible enough; there is a step up to all the toilets apart from the disabled one, making access for the elderly a potential problem. There is also no disabled parking near to the toilets.

"It's a disgrace that the country council have decided to close West Street Car Park toilets in the middle of the summer season," said Fishguard mayor, Jordan Ryan.

"The county council are their own worse enemy's at times, I urge them to think through their decisions in future before going ahead."

He added that the town council was investigating the costs of taking over the running of the West Street Car Park toilets in the future.

Fishguard and Goodwick's Chamber of Trade echoed the mayor's view, saying the toilets should have been kept open while negotiations between the two councils were ongoing.

"The chamber has urged the county council to retain these toilets prior to any agreement with the town council to secure an asset transfer," said the chamber's secretary, Jeremy Martineau.

"We understand that a meeting has been held between the two councils on this possibility. These now closed toilets should have been retained to allow these discussions to proceed.

"The new toilets adjacent to the bus station are welcome, in principle, but have issues about access for the disabled as there is no nearby disabled parking.

"We regret the speed with which the PCC acts to save money with insufficient forward planning on adequate alternatives.

"Surprisingly, neither residents nor visitors have been adapted so that they no longer need toilets at regular intervals. The only solution is to stay at home, thereby increasing loneliness and decreasing social contact which visiting town centres often engenders."

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said that the town council had agreed on the site for the new toilets near the bus stop and that an eight week public consultation on the closure of the existing toilets was undertaken last year, which included engagement event at the town hall.

In order to fund the new toilets the proposal was for the two other town centre toilets, in West Street and Parc y Shwt Car Parks, to close.

"Based on population, visitor numbers, area served and distance to other facilities, one block in the centre is regarded as an adequate provision in the context of what is provided in other parts of the county," said the spokesman.

"The new block is equidistance away from the two previous toilets.

"Additionally the new toilet is designed so that it provides less opportunity for vandalism and is open for longer periods than the previous toilet blocks.

"Currently this provision is available 24/7. Furthermore West Street toilet was locked at night and Parc Y Shwt was closed in the winter so provision of facilities in terms of opening hours has been improved."

The spokesman confirmed that there were ongoing discussions between the town and county councils about the future of the West Street toilets.