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Monday, April 1, 2024

MP strongly opposes county's public toilet closure plan

Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies (pictured above) says he strongly opposes Denbighshire County Council’s proposals to close public toilets throughout the county and is urging them to explore all possible alternatives. 

The council argues it faces "unprecedented" financial challenges and hopes if the plans to shut public conveniences go ahead it will save more than £200,000.

However, James has said closing public toilets would have a detrimental impact on local economy and counter Levelling Up efforts. He is appealing to the Council to scrap the plans. 

He said: “Whilst I appreciate that Denbighshire County Council is looking at ways to save money, closing toilets is not the answer. 

“Many local people depend on these facilities and shutting them will lead to some elderly and more vulnerable residents being apprehensive about going out. The same is true for those with incontinence problems and gastrointestinal disorders. Closing the toilets would isolate a great many in our communities which I don’t think has been considered.   

“The council should also reflect on the fact that as well as serving local residents, these toilets are used by those who visit our towns and villages. Tourists coming to places such as Rhyl, Prestatyn and Llangollen, expect there to be toilets they can use.

“Families with young children and elderly family members who come to Rhyl for example, to spend the day on the beach, depend on these facilities. It is all well and good the council saying that they will be asking local businesses to open up their toilets for a £500 payment, but if these businesses are in the town centre, it is quite a way for people to trek from the seafront. 

“I also don’t think the plans are workable in Llangollen, where tourists arrive by the coach load. It would not be practicable for such large number to traipse into a local cafĂ© or pub to use the toilet. 

“The council must additionally consider the impact of events which are held in our towns, which can attract thousands of people at a time. 

“I am concerned that removing public conveniences from Prestatyn seafront would result in the town losing its Blue Flag Status. 

“The loss of public toilets would also be felt in smaller towns and villages. Many people for example visit St Asaph to walk by the river, and families use the park. Not having toilets close by would be hugely inconvenient and could potentially put people off visiting. 

“I was pleased to meet Denbighshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Graham Boase, this week to highlight all of my concerns and to discuss potential compromise options which I think would work, such as involving Denbighshire Leisure Limited in the seafront provision. 

"It cannot be right that the council is spending millions more having increased its staffing numbers, has increased council tax by 9.34% and is spending £10m of its own funds on an unnecessary new recycling system, while education support, libraries and now toilets are under threat. 

"It seems that we are well and truly paying the price for Labour and Plaid Cymru having taken control of the council in 2022. 

“We need to be doing all we can to encourage people to visit Denbighshire and to boost our local economy, not getting rid of facilities which tourists use. Quite simply, if we don’t offer these basic facilities, people will go to somewhere that does.” 

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