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Flintshire North Wales Politics

Vandalism leaves Flintshire public toilets in ‘dire need’ of investment

Toilet facilities in Mold Bus Station have been described as being unsuitable for disabled people (Pic: Google)

PUBLIC toilets in Flintshire are said to be in “dire need” of investment after being targeted by vandals.

There are currently just three public conveniences operated by Flintshire Council in the area after nine were closed over the years in a bid to cut costs.

In some cases, the facilities were shut as a direct result of anti-social behaviour, which the local authority said had added to the strain on finances.

A report being presented to councillors this week reveals the three remaining council-run toilets at Mold Bus Station, Station Road in Talacre and Holywell High Street have again been targeted by vandals over the last 12 months.

A survey carried out as part of a review of Flintshire’s local toilets strategy also shows that half of the 687 people who responded said they did not feel safe when using the facilities.

Meanwhile, only 30 per cent said the cleanliness of the toilets was good, with 90 per cent describing facilities for the disabled and people with young children as “inadequate”.

In the report, the council’s chief officer for streetscene and transportation, Katie Wilby, highlighted the worsening condition of the toilets.

She said: “It should be noted that the structural condition of the facilities provided in both Talacre and Holywell have deteriorated considerably recently and are in dire need of capital investment to repair and upgrade them.

“The current annual budget for public conveniences is £77,000 and this financial year we are forecasting a period 12 outturn of £100,000.

“This increase is due to repairs to deterioration of the facilities and ongoing maintenance to ensure they are kept usable and safe.

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“Throughout the year Mold, Holywell and Talacre have suffered from vandalism which contributes to the additional pressure on the budget.”

The authority previously attracted criticism after it demolished a toilet block based in the New Street car park in Mold in Septemer 2021.

While improvements were made to the toilets at Mold Bus Station, councillors said they were too far away for elderly people to walk to.

Concerns have also been raised that the facilities are unsuitable for disabled people.

Despite closing a number of standalone conveniences in the area, the council said it had worked to make more toilets were available in other buildings under its ownership, as well as raising awareness of those within local businesses.

Ms Wilby added that more investment was planned over the next five years to improve the standards of facilities across the county.

She said: “Through this strategy, we aim to provide accessible, clean toilets in the most appropriate locations.

“We also aim to secure the future of current provision as well as looking at ways to increase the number of public toilets available and improving access to all groups of people.

“The provision of local toilets for public use is not a statutory requirement of local authorities in Wales.

“Standalone toilet facilities in isolated locations have a history of attracting anti-social behaviour and a high level of vandalism.

“It is recognised that the implementation of the previous strategy was affected by the global pandemic and a number of the public interest groups have contacted the council’s leadership on several occasions to challenge the current provisions and support improved facilities.”

The report will be considered by members of the authority’s environment and economy scrutiny committee when they meet tomorrow (Tuesday, 5 March).