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Monday, May 27, 2024

County councillor speaks out on possible loss of town's public toilets

Llangollen county councillor Karen Edwards has issued this new statement on Denbighshire County Council's highly controversial plan to divest itself of public toilets across the county - including those in Market Street - as part of a money-saving exercise. 

"Much concern has been expressed on social media regarding the potential closure of the Market Street Public Conveniences. Denbighshire County Council, like most councils, is currently attempting to balance its budgets in the face of increased funding pressures. 

In my opinion the closure of the toilets would be an act of self-harm, both to the local economy and to the social well-being of the town. 

As I’ve stated previously I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm the fact that I do not support Denbighshire County Council's proposal.

The Town Council had been asked to consider taking over the operation of the toilets without any identified funding for the proposition. 

At the Town Council meeting held last Tuesday they agreed it would not be possible to take over the transfer of ownership of the facility as currently offered, given the information provided by DCC thus far and all the financial liabilities that would entail, but they remain committed to working collaboratively with DCC to explore alternative solutions that ensure the continued availability and upkeep of public toilets in the town without imposing unsustainable costs on the local population.  

I am not a Town Councillor, but I am obviously aware that for a small TC they already have quite a hefty financial responsibility with the assets they already own, namely The Centenary Square, The Town Hall, The Pen Y Bryn Cemetery and The Chain Bridge.

For DCC to close this vital facility whilst retaining all the income from parking charges would be an act of asset stripping and it is na├»ve to think that the carpark usage and thus the footfall and visitor economic benefits to the town as a whole will not be affected. 

There is no recognition from DCC that Llangollen’s combination of a carpark and public conveniences in the same location attracts visitors as a stopping point. The income received from the town’s public car parks is more than sufficient to support the continued operation of a public toilet facility. DCC is quite happy to take the car park revenue but falls short of reinvesting it back into the town that generates it.

If all our efforts fail and closure is the only option as ultimately this will be a DCC cabinet decision scheduled for September’s meeting, then we will be left with no alternative other than to ask for help to manage transition of these much-needed facilities to a sustainable low operating cost facility that is capable of being transferred to local operations and I hasten to add that could well be extremely challenging."

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