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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

County council looks at plan to shed all its public toilets

* Llangollen's public toilets in Mark Street.

Denbighshire County Council is considering a plan to dispose of all its public toilets in a bid to save around £200,000 a year in running costs. 

A report on the issue is due to be discussed by the council’s communities scrutiny committee this Thursday. 

A officers’ report says the council needs to make savings as it faces an “unprecedented” financial challenge and the closure proposal is part of a corporate process to pinpoint savings in the 2024/25 budget. It has already been discussed by councillors in budget workshops. 

The report says: “The provision of public conveniences (PCs) is a non-statutory duty. Many local authorities ceased providing this service many years ago. Some neighbouring authorities still provide this service in certain areas but have reduced it in recent years and/or are currently looking to reduce this provision.” 

Denbighshire currently has 20 PC sites across the county, including Llangollen. Some are free to use, and some have a facility to charge users. The report reveals that none of these sites break even financially. 

Because the council believes that the provision of PCs in local communities is important, it says it will be looking to transfer as many of them as possible to other groups or organisations, such as city, town and community councils, so that they continue to operate but at no cost to DCC. 

The council is currently in the process of transferring PCs in Corwen to the local town council, which it believes could become a model for other areas. Any PCs that it is unable to transfer to another owner could be closed. 

Another way of reducing the impact of the plan, says the report, is to expand the Community Toilet Grant scheme, under which the council pays local businesses £500 a year for allowing the public to use their toilet facilities free of charge. 

It is believed that some businesses would be receptive to this offer because it would increase their footfall and some people would probably feel obliged to buy something at the same time as using the loos, explains the report. 

The annual budget for providing PCs is £270,000 but costs such as decommissioning could reduce the saving to about £200,000. 

The report adds that a redundancy process for people working in the toilets would also need to be pursued.

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