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Abergavenny public toilets closure

RESIDENTS of a Welsh town have been identified as benefitting from an “unusual” number of places where they can relieve themselves. 

With three public toilet blocks – and at least two retail sites offering public access – it is claimed the 13,000 or so residents of Abergavenny should have no problems in spending a penny. 

That is according to the man responsible for public conveniences across Monmouthshire in answer to calls for a rethink on the permanent closure of public toilets at the town’s White Horse Lane. 

David Jones said public toilets at the Borough Theatre yard, Castle Street and Abergavenny bus station are being maintained, while facilities at the JD Wetherspoon pub, The Coliseum, and the Morrisons supermarket are also available to the public. 

“It’s unusual for a population the size of Abergavenny to have that many toilets, to be blunt,” Mr Jones told a Monmouthshire County Council scrutiny committee. 

The White Horse Lane public toilets haven’t been open to the public since April 2020 and are to be removed from the council’s updated public toilet strategy and their closure formally approved. 

But councillor Ben Callard, who represents Llanfoist and Govilon on the county council as well as being a member of Abergavenny Town Council, said he disagreed with the closure and wanted to know if the county would consider allowing the town council to take responsibility for the toilets as it has for others in the town. 

The Labour councillor said: “I would disagree with the statement there are other toilets available within easy reach of White Horse Lane.

The closest available are probably behind the Market Hall and if you are in that part of town with a toddler it is too far to go and I’m sure it’s the same for the less able as well.” 

But the Labour cabinet member for communities, Sara Burch, who represents the town’s Cantref ward and also sits with Cllr Callard on the town council, told him her understanding is that it didn’t want to take over the White Horse Lane facilities due to refurbishment costs. But she said the issue could be “revisited”. 

Mr Jones confirmed the refurbishment costs had been estimated at £93,000 in 2019. 

He said: “The repair costs are astronomical. They were £93,000 in April 2019. Four years on I dread to think what the cost would be re-open that and it was the one (toilet block) police identified as having particular anti-social behaviour.” 

Croesonen Labour member Su McConnel said she was shocked at the repair costs: “£90,000 is enough money to build a house, I’m taken aback to refurbish something would cost that amount of money, why are the costs are so high?” 

Cllr Burch said she had been told there were problems with the roof and drains and said: “At which point you are starting at the bottom up.” 

Mr Jones said the repair costs had been produced by the council’s landlord services and the second highest cost at the time was £37,000 for the Abergavenny bus station toilets. 

The comments will be passed to the council’s cabinet. 

In October 2021 toilet retailer QS Supplies said it found, using the toilet finder website pee.place, that Wakefield in Yorkshire was UK city with the most restrooms per 100,000 people with 35.

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