‘Hundreds’ try to use loos in Porthcawl on first day they close

Porthcawl’s town centre toilets have closed until further notice under cost-cutting plans by Bridgend County Borough Council.

The John Street toilets, which are in a Grade II listed building, closed at the start of the New Year.

Carl Hale, who owns a tanning shop opposite the toilets, said he counted more than 1,000 people on Wednesday, January 2, trying to use them in just a few hours.

He said: “I thought I’d have a look and see as I was sat in the window. I was noting down the numbers in tallies of five.

“Up until 2pm there were over 1,000 people. They would push the door and then read the sign.

“There were quite a few people in wheelchairs as well.

“It’s not even that busy in the town centre as it’s January – come March-time those numbers are going to triple.”

He added: “The problem is the older people – some are on water tablets for example and have to go to the toilet every 20 minutes.

“If they can’t go to the toilet they’re not going to come and shop in the town, they’re going to go somewhere else where they can.”

A sign on the door of Porthcawl’s John Street toilets
(Image: Carl Hale)

Thousands of people signed a petition in September against the plans with a protest outside the toilets taking place in October.

In June BCBC announced the toilets in Porthcawl – and Maesteg and Bridgend – may close because of the need to make savings.

It said the only way to save the John Street facilities was if Porthcawl Town Council took charge of them under the Community Asset Transfer scheme.

A BCBC spokesman confirmed the toilets had closed along with those in Griffin Park, Cheapside in Bridgend, and at Maesteg Bus Station.

He said: “Although the facilities closed this week we are working with Porthcawl Town Council to develop an agreement for them to operate both the John Street and Griffin Park toilets.

“We’re anticipating that this agreement should be in place by February 1 and the town council will then decide a suitable date for the toilets to re-open as soon possible after that date.”

Porthcawl town councillors have previously expressed their anger at the closure because of the “short notice” they were given to prepare for the asset transfer.

Traders and residents protest against the planned closure of Porthcawl town centre’s public toilets

Norah Clarke, Porthcawl town mayor and county councillor for Nottage, said: “Once it became clear that BCBC was in fact going to walk away from January 2 Porthcawl Town Council unanimously agreed at its December meeting to mobilise contingency plans.

“The town council and BCBC have now agreed that the John Street toilets will be opened and run by the town council under a ‘license to operate’ agreement which BCBC is currently developing and hopes to have ready by the end of January 2019.

“We are also exploring options for an informal agreement to minimise the disruption this is causing our town.

“The toilets will be open again as soon as possible.”

Article source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/hundreds-try-use-toilets-porthcawl-15623110