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Saturday, March 30, 2024

North Wales Tourism chief 'feels pain' over public toilets threat

* Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism.

The region’s tourism boss says he can “feel the pain” of Llangollen’s residents and businesses at the prospect of losing the town's public toilets.

Denbighshire County Council is proposing to rid itself of most of the county’s 20 public conveniences in a bid to ease its under-pressure budget to the tune of around £200,000 a year.

Pointing out that it doesn’t have a legal duty to provide toilets, it has suggested that they could be taken over by town and community councils. It is also aiming to promote a scheme under which businesses are paid a small sum each year to allow the public to use their toilets.

The proposal’s affect on the public loos in Market Street has sparked a barrage of angry criticism on social media and campaigns to protect them.

Clwyd South MS Ken Skates has already expressed his support for saving the toilets by writing to council chief executive Graham Boase to request the authority takes another look at the proposal.

One of the campaign groups fighting the move is a group of concerned residents including Phil Robinson, editor of llanblogger.

On Thursday they were in touch with Jim Jones, CEO of influential industry champion North Wales Tourism, who expressed his concern over the proposal and immediately contacted county chief executive Graham Boase to seek a meeting to discuss the impact it would have on areas of the county heavily dependent on tourism such as Llangollen and the coastal resorts.

Mr Jones told llanblogger: “I can feel your pain. Public toilets have been an issue across the whole of north Wales for some time.

“We’ve made massive efforts to have more investment put into our toilets but with this proposal the council have got their priorities wrong as they are needed by tourists and tourism is the biggest contributor to the economy in areas like Llangollen.

“Every local authority in north Wales gets an Enhanced Population Grant which means that the more visitors they get, the more money they receive. They are supposed to put that money into their infrastructure which would help encourage tourism, such as signage, tourist information centres and toilets, but they don’t. If it was used in this way they wouldn’t be considering closing public toilets.

“The question is, with its many thousands of visitors each year, what does Denbighshire do with the money it gets from the Enhanced Population Grant?”

Mr Jones added: “I have written to Graham Boase, CEO of Denbighshire County Council requesting a meeting with him at which I will stress the importance of public toilets to places like Llangollen.”

Mr Jones has promised to keep llanblogger posted on the outcome of that meeting. 

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