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Monday, April 15, 2024

Clerk outlines implications of town council taking over public toilets

Town councillors are being advised by their clerk to give careful consideration to all the implications of taking over Llangollen’s public toilets in Market Street before making any decision on the issue.

Denbighshire County Council plans to divest itself of almost all its public conveniences - including the one in Market Street - to help balance its budget.

This has so far sparked a storm of local protest, with the area's Senedd Member Ken Skates, North Wales Tourism SEO Jim Jones and former GP Dr Rhys Davies among those backing the fight to save the toilets.

County chiefs are hoping that the running of some of the toilets can be taken over by town or community councils.

And Llangollen Town Council is due to discuss the issue at its monthly meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.

In a report to members, town clerk Gareth Thomas says: “The Town Council must be cognisant of the financial implications that transfer of the facilities as initial figures indicate that the current public conveniences run at a loss in excess of £23,000.

“Should the Town Council be minded to consider an asset transfer then clearly these costs would have to be passed on to the precept and would put additional pressure on local council taxpayers in that there would not be any reciprocal saving reflected in the County Council’s charges.”

Mr Thomas suggests councillors pay particular attention to the position regarding the existing three staff, and whether legislation that protects employees, and their benefits when their employment changes hands would apply.

He adds: “These factors would have to be clearly defined as there would be considerable implications of taking on staff contracts and responsibilities, including training, management, and compliance with employment regulations and pension arrangements.

“In relation to the regular maintenance and management of the building structure a complete breakdown of all the current and historical operating costs will be required to provide a detailed analysis of the projected costs necessary to determine the budget required for ongoing maintenance and operation.

“The decision to agree to an asset transfer of the public toilets in Llangollen requires careful consideration of various factors, including financial viability, operational implications, community impact, legal and regulatory compliance, and long-term planning for the management and maintenance of the public toilets, considering factors such as population growth, changing demographics, and evolving community needs.”

And in his recommendation he says: “If Members are minded to consider the transfer of this asset to the Town Council, they authorises the Town Clerk to contact the County Council’s Principal Catering and Cleaning Manager to enter into an open exchange of information, as outlined in this report, for future consideration by the Town Council.”

Tomorrow’s town council meeting is online at and starts at 6pm.

* Meanwhile, organisers of the popular Old Railway Trail parkrun have written to county council chief executive Graham Boase outlining the impact on its runners if the toilets are lost.     

Co-event directors Dr Michael Clarke and Mike Edwards say in their email: “Our parkrun has taken place since the 17th June, 2023 and last Saturday’s was our 43rd event since we launched.

“We regularly get a hundred or so runners attending (105 last Saturday) and at our launch event we had 249 attendees.

“So as Event Directors Michael Clarke and I together with our Core Team of Volunteers are extremely concerned about the proposal to possibly close the Public Conveniences in Llangollen. 

“You will appreciate that participants attending our Community Event need to use toilet facilities. We currently direct them to park and use Denbighshire Council’s available facilities at Market Street. 

“We would therefore ask you to ensure the Council are aware of our concern about this proposal and it’s likely impact on an extremely important Community Event which enhances the health and wellbeing of participants whether they are local volunteers, walkers, joggers or runners from wherever they visit.”

Graham Boase replied: "Thank you for your email and for the excellent work you and colleagues do in regard to the parkrun in Llangollen.  I’m also glad to hear that you receive excellent support from Dave Shield and our Countryside Team. 

"I understand your concerns regarding the potential closure of the public conveniences in Llangollen.  I can confirm that no decision has, as yet, been taken as we are still considering all options.

"I have forwarded your email to Paul Jackson the relevant senior manager regarding this matter."

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