Fear over toilet closures in Pembrokeshire flushed out by new assurances of no closure

No PUBLIC toilets are planned to be closed in Pembrokeshire as part of budget savings this financial year, councillors heard.

At the July 13 meeting of the county council, Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Alec Cormack made the assurance in response to a submitted question by Cllr Aled Thomas.

Cllr Thomas had raised the issue as part of a wider submitted question covering budget saving options highlighted ahead of this year’s budget and possible public toilet closures.

In his submitted question he referenced a budget public consultation report which included: “The most controversial proposal closure of public toilets and/or transferring them to other operators eg town and community councils is not included for 2023-24.

“This proposal was included in the budget consultation and was ranked as the least acceptable option in the Environmental services section. Public toilets attracted the single largest number of comments and there were 111 comments describing the importance / benefits of public toilets and / or the negative impacts of closure / general opposition to closure.”

Cllr Thomas, in his submitted question, added: “Members of the public have seen the Cabinet take the decision to press ahead with public toilet closures this financial year despite both of the above points.”

He also asked for a list of budgetary saving measures as well as the anticipated financial year cost saving and impact on free reserves that have been, or are expected to be taken this financial year that were not included in the Budget Saving Options document.

Cllr Cormack disputed the statement by Cllr Thomas on public toilet closures, adding that no definitive list of additional budget savings had yet been defined, but a detailed report was expected in September.

He stressed: “No public toilets are budgeted for savings in this financial year, they will all stay open.”

In a supplementary question, Cllr Thomas responded: “Can you assure me that no public toilets will close in this financial year?”

Cllr Cormack replied: “I’m happy to confirm that no public toilets are planned as budget savings in this financial year.”

He said those at the risk of potential closure, if no agreements with outside bodies – such as town and community councils – can be negotiated, are budgeted to close in the next financial year.

“There is no financial pressure to close any toilets this year, toilet closures will be on the potential budget savings for next year.”

The ‘Band B’ list of some 30-plus public toilets under threat of potential closure were outlined earlier this year.

Councillors have previously heard some public toilets close seasonally as a matter of course.

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