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Plans that could see every public toilet shut in Denbighshire slammed

PLANS that could see the closure of every public toilet in Denbighshire have been slammed as damaging to tourism and inconsiderate to the elderly, disabled people and young families.

At a community scrutiny committee on Thursday, councillors will discuss proposals to stop funding all 20 public conveniences in the county.

The move to cut the non-statutory service is estimated to save the council £200,000 a year – although the service itself costs around £270,000.

Instead the council will seek to pass on the toilets to community and town councils, but there are no guarantees smaller councils will take on the financial burden.

The council will also fund a community grant scheme, paying businesses £500 a year to make their toilets available to the public.

The proposed cuts come as the authority increases council tax by 9.34% and slashes frontline service budgets.

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Denbighshire Council says it is facing unprecedented financial difficulties, despite receiving a 3.7% rise in its local government settlement, the highest in North Wales.

Rhyl councillor Brian Jones slammed the proposals.

“The proposals to close all the public toilets in Denbighshire, I don’t think they’ve fully considered the impact,” he said.

“It probably hasn’t been thought out properly, and an example of that, elderly people, in a lot of cases with medical conditions, if they do need a public convenience, it is there for them, and they can plan (their journeys).

“If you take that away, I believe that will restrict older people from going into towns and villages and elsewhere.

“It hasn’t been considered carefully, and this £500 offer to businesses to offer their facilities just doesn’t stack up.

“It’s an absolutely ludicrous suggestion.

“Disabled people, young mothers, young parents with children, guardians will have the same issues.

“If you close the public conveniences on the promenade, what does that say to people?

“This is just the wrong message, not thought through, another wrong priority.

“It is difficult for a county councillor such as myself who is in touch with the people, a people’s man. How can I defend some of this?

“The claim that inflation has had a massive effect on the budget – not everything has gone up during the inflation crisis by 11%.

“But certain people choose to cling onto that. It is totally wrong to take away public conveniences.”

He added: “They’re going to the local town councils and the parish councils to see what can be worked out there.

“My response to that is they should have done all that work behind closed doors.

“But they haven’t done that.

“They’ve chucked it in front of a meeting on Thursday. It is very difficult at this point in time to sit there as a county councillor on the back benches.”

The plans will be discussed at the meeting at Ruthin County Hall on Thursday where the committee will scrutinise the report before it is redebated by cabinet.

The report to be considered concludes: “It is understood that this proposal will not be popular, and that it could be viewed as contrary to other strategic aims in the areas of tourism and regeneration.

“However, declaring our intention to remove the budget for our public conveniences is likely to be the best way to identify potential alternative operators.”

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