Public toilets in Bridgend county are set to be axed

Public toilets are set to close across Bridgend County Borough due to council cutbacks.

Loos at Rhiw Hill and Derwen Road in Bridgend town centre as well as the basement facilities underneath Porthcawl‘s Grand Pavilion are being axed.

The toilets in Maesteg bus station will also be closed on Sundays.

And town and community councils are being urged to take over the running of toilets at Kenfig National Nature Reserve, Price Town Square and Blackmill Square in the Ogmore Valley and at Pandy Road, Aberkenfig, if they want them to stay open.

Bridgend County Borough Council’s cabinet approved the closure plans following a public consultation exercise.

The council will continue to look after facilities which it said received the greatest support. They are toilets at the bus station and Cheapside in Bridgend and John Street, Griffin Park and Rest Bay in Porthcawl.

The authority said the facilities are accessible and in areas with the greatest footfall.

The public consultation found that 96% of respondents wanted disabled access at all public toilets.

Decision not taken lightly

Councillor Hywel Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities, said the decision to close loos had not been taken lightly.

But he added: “We also have to be absolutely realistic about the amount of savings that we have to make over the next few years.”

He added the council also wanted to develop local comfort schemes, where shops, pubs and other businesses allow the public to use their facilities.

But the announcement has sparked criticism from a traders’ representative and a Bridgend town councillor, who fear the loss of such essential services will further discourage people from shopping in the town centre.

Steve Bletsoe, chairman of Bridgend Traders’ Forum, said the move was “a blow” and left the town centre with inadequate provision.

“Bridgend Town Centre needs accessible, clean public toilets. If you look at successful out of town developments they always have clean, accessible toilets that are available for shoppers to use,” he said.

“If BCBC are being genuine about closing these public toilets then it is a blow. If, however, this is a game of brinkmanship to get the town council to take over the management of the toilets, I wish that this could have been done behind closed doors and not in the public domain.

Vibrant and viable town

“We need to ensure that visitors and locals are aware that Bridgend is open for business and that we as a town recognise that the provision of public toilets is an important aspect of creating a vibrant and viable town.”

Bridgend town councillor Diane Burns, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, said she is “appalled” at the decision to close toilets.

She said increasing numbers of people are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, which leaves them needing to use the toilet at short notice.

Coun Burns added the move was also “counter productive” at a time when the traders and town council are working hard to attract people into the town centre.

A Bridgend council spokesman said the Rhiw Hill, Derwen Road and Grand Pavilion toilets have been earmarked for closure later this year.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/public-toilets-bridgend-county-set-9536353