Protesters bat­tle to save town’s pub­lic lava­to­ries

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - LIZ BRAD­FIELD

TRADERS, res­i­dents and coun­cil­lors gath­ered out­side pub­lic toi­lets in a sea­side town to protest against plans to close them.

More than 7,000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion against plans to shut the fa­cil­i­ties in Porth­cawl.

The John Street toi­lets, which are in a Grade IIlisted build­ing, are set to close in Jan­uary un­der cost cut­ting plans by Brid­gend coun­cil.

The pro­pos­als have met with out­rage in the town with res­i­dents call­ing them “lu­di­crous”.

Karen Ford who runs the five Maple shops in John Street said: “Foot­fall is al­ready down by 20% – how are we go­ing to at­tract peo­ple to Porth­cawl if these toi­lets shut? It’s ab­surd.”

Mar­garet Min­hin­nick who runs Sussed, an eth­i­cal and fair­trade shop, added: “It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have some loos in the town cen­tre.

“It’s not only for tourists and shop­pers but for kids and older peo­ple.

“You can’t have a town cen­tre with­out a de­cent set of toi­lets.

“The coun­cil has an op­por­tu­nity to make some­thing that’s a real fea­ture and bring them back upto-date.”

So­phie Page who runs Koko, a jew­ellery shop in the town, said: “It’s ridicu­lous. It’s such a ba­sic pub­lic fa­cil­ity.

“It will give even more rea­son for peo­ple not to visit the town when we want peo­ple to shop lo­cally and use the in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers.”

Si­mon Green, chair­man of the Brid­gend coali­tion of dis­abled peo­ple, said the clo­sure would be “dis­as­trous”, adding many peo­ple rely on hav­ing the toi­lets there when vis­it­ing the town.

Wheel­chair user Ann Keeper said: “When you’re dis­abled the first thing you look for is a toi­let. The dis­abled toi­let here is bril­liant, they’re al­ways re­ally clean.”

Town coun­cil­lor Mary Em­ment-Lewis said: “BCBC [Brid­gend County Bor­ough Coun­cil] says Porth­cawl is the jewel in the crown of the county but they’re steal­ing the jewels from the town. If there aren’t any pub­lic toi­lets, where are peo­ple go­ing to go?”

And town coun­cil­lor and deputy mayor Gra­ham Wal­ter said: “You can’t have a sea­side town with­out pub­lic toi­lets.

“BCBC has got their pri­or­i­ties wrong – they’re send­ing £11.3m to the City Deal and they say they haven’t enough money to keep the toi­lets open.

“They’ve just agreed £10,000 to stage a 10k run next year in Porth­cawl which is great but what’s the point if there are no pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties for peo­ple to use?”

Res­i­dent Kim Pearsall said the res­i­dents of Porth­cawl would have to start of­fer­ing dog poo bags to hol­i­day­mak­ers when they visit the town be­cause there wouldn’t be any pub­lic toi­lets.

The lo­cal author­ity says the only way to save the toi­lets is if Porth­cawl Town Coun­cil takes charge of them un­der the Com­mu­nity As­set Trans­fer scheme.

But the town coun­cil says it has not been given enough no­tice to take them on from Jan­uary.

Town coun­cil­lor Les Tal­lon-Mor­ris urged BCBC to “stop the mad­ness” and al­lo­cate fund­ing to keep the “vi­tal fa­cil­i­ties” open.

He said: “The clo­sure was sprung on the town with just three months’ no­tice try­ing to force us to take over the run­ning of this grade two listed build­ing which has been ne­glected by BCBC for many years.

“We un­der­stand BCBC has to make cuts in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial cli­mate but this should not be one of them.

“If BCBC in­sists on clos­ing these fa­cil­i­ties we ask the clo­sure is de­ferred to the next fi­nan­cial year and that they be handed over in a bet­ter con­di­tion.”

Brid­gend coun­cil­lor Richard Young said dis­cus­sions were on­go­ing with Porth­cawl Town Coun­cil over the pos­si­ble trans­fer of the toi­lets and the lo­cal author­ity “re­mained hope­ful of a pos­i­tive out­come”.

He said: “Due to the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion we sim­ply can­not con­tinue to run pub­lic toi­lets in the way that we do now.

“If an ar­range­ment can­not be reached with the town coun­cil, then the toi­lets will have to un­for­tu­nately close.”

Protesters gather out­side Porth­cawl town cen­tres pub­lic toi­lets which are threat­ened with clo­sure

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.