Sunday, April 14, 2024

County has 'moral obligation' to provide town's public toilets, says former GP

* Dr Rhys Davies opposes the loss of the town's public toilets.

A respected former Llangollen GP is backing the growing campaign to save the town's under-threat public toilets.

Dr Rhys Davies, who was based at Llangollen Health Centre before his retirement, has declared his opposition to the proposal by the county council to divest itself of almost all its public conveniences - including the one in Market Street - to help balance its budget.

He says they have a "moral obligation" to provide them.

The plan has so far sparked a storm of local protest, with the area's Senedd Member Ken Skates and North Wales Tourism SEO Jim Jones 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. But early indications are that Llangollen Town Council is not in a financial position to do so. However, its members are due to discuss the issue at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Dr Davies, who is also a former chairman of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, has written to llanblogger to make his opinion known.     

He says: "I write to support the objections to the potential closure of the public toilets on Market St in Llangollen. I write as a previous GP in the town and district for 30 years and also as a long term resident. 

"Although DCC don't have a legal obligation to provide public conveniences in Llangollen there certainly is a moral obligation. Public conveniences have been provided here for many years and they are essential for a tourist town the size of Llangollen. 

"I would have thought that the remuneration from the Smithfield car park would more than finance the current public conveniences. Also, the money received by DCC to reflect the number of visitors we have to Llangollen should be reinvested in the town and would also contribute.  

"If the town council were to take over the running of the conveniences they should receive all the remuneration mentioned, but is it fair that they take over responsibility for parking also? 

"The idea of paying pubs,  restaurants, take a ways etc to allow the public to use their services is a non starter. We are not a city centre and there simply aren't enough places in Llangollen to accommodate people requiring conveniences especially those with disabilities and wheelchair users? Also when buses full of tourists arrive, often earlier in the morning, very few places are open . There is nowhere that could cope with a bus load of elderly visitors needing conveniences. As a result bus companies won't come to Llangollen and so there will be a significant loss of business. 

"Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is an about to have its largest festival for years, such a move by DCC would be a retrograde step.  

"Many people, residents and visitors included, have urinary problems especially prostatic in males with urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence along with urinary frequency and incontinence in females. We mustn't forget those with colostomies, ileostomies and urostomies who all need access to suitable conveniences to manage for their condition. 

"In a civilised society it is essential that all are treated with respect and provided with conveniences when needed. Closure of the public conveniences in Llangollen by DCC as a cost saving exercise doesn't make sense, the loss of business to Llangollen would be far greater along with the loss of respect from residents and visitors a PR disaster! 

"I am happy for this email to be shared with DCC and all interested parties."

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