Posted: Wed 13th Mar 2024

Flintshire Council urged to implement charges for public toilets to deter vandalism

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A call has been made for Flintshire Council to consider charging people to use public toilets to stop them from being vandalised.

There are currently just three public conveniences run by the local authority after nine were closed over the years in a bid to cut costs.

In some cases, the facilities were shut as a direct result of anti-social behaviour, which officials said had led to a strain on finances.

A recent report shows the three remaining council-run toilets at Mold Bus Station, Station Road in Talacre and Holywell High Street have been targeted by vandals again over the last 12 months.

It has led to a request for the authority to look into introducing charges to prevent vandalism and help fund the cost of providing toilets.

The suggestion was raised by Flintshire’s portfolio holder for public health during a cabinet meeting held at County Hall in Mold today (Tuesday, 12 March).

Cllr Chris Bithell, who is part of the ruling Labour administration, said: “I’ve long advocated for it and I would ask officers to look at the possibility of charging for the use of public conveniences.

“It is happening elsewhere in other authorities not too far away from here, if you go to Colwyn Bay on the front.

“This won’t shore up all of our financial problems in the provision of public toilets, but I think at least it will bring in some income to help with the costs.

“I feel that people will be quite prepared to pay for a decent facility which is clean and tidy.

“It will also deter those people who simply go into toilets to abuse them and to vandalise them.”

Cllr Bithell’s comments were made as cabinet members discussed the council’s public toilet strategy, which outlines how it intends to provide facilities over the next five years.

The document shows the idea of charging people to use public toilets was previously considered by the council several years ago.

However, the plans were not taken forward as the cost of introducing and maintaining a payment system was said to be too high.

A recent survey on the council’s toilets strategy highlights that half of the 687 respondents did not feel safe when using Flintshire’s public conveniences.

In a report, the authority’s chief officer for streetscene and transportation said the facilities were in “dire need” of investment.

Katie Wilby said: “It should be noted that the structural condition of the facilities provided in both Talacre and Holywell have deteriorated considerably recently and are in dire need of capital investment to repair and upgrade them.

“The current annual budget for public conveniences is £77,000 and this financial year we are forecasting a period 12 outturn of £100,000.

“This increase is due to repairs to deterioration of the facilities and ongoing maintenance to ensure they are kept usable and safe.

“Throughout the year Mold, Holywell and Talacre have suffered from vandalism which contributes to the additional pressure on the budget.”

Cabinet members agreed to adopt the council’s latest public toilet strategy at the end of the debate.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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