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Agenda item

Public Conveniences

Decision:

That the Committee recommends approval of the outcome of the final review

of the Public Convenience service provision to Cabinet.

 

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced a report to update the Committee on the final stage of the Public Conveniences Review.  He provided background information and advised that the final step of the review would consider the future of the remaining public convenience facilities in the County.

 

The Chief Officer referred to the five dedicated public convenience facilities which were operated by the Authority.  He reported that a further review of service had taken place and drew attention to the recommendations for future provision as detailed in the report.  He explained that it was proposed that the Authority promote the use of existing toilet facilities within Council buildings and cited leisure centres, libraries, and Connects Centres as examples, instead of the dedicated and sometimes isolated facilities which had been previously provided.  The Chef Officer advised that expressions of interest had been received from some Town and Community Councils in taking over public convenience facilities which could form part of Corporate Asset Transfers.  He also referred to the use of commercial facilities such as local businesses, which with the assistance of grant funding from the Welsh Government, could make their facilities available to the general public.

 

The Chief Officer emphasised the need for clear and consistent signage to be provided in town centres so the public were made aware of where public conveniences were available.

 

The Chief Officer drew attention to the Public Health Bill unveiled by the Welsh Government in June 2015 which placed a duty on local authorities to prepare and publish strategies for the provision of toilets for public use within their area.  He advised that whilst the Authority had closed a number of dedicated facilities access to their Council owned toilets had been improved.

 

Councillor Chris Dolphin commented on the need for easily accessible public convenience facilities to be provided for the elderly, disabled people, and young children.  These needed to be situated close to shops and local amenities.  He expressed the view that there should be a public convenience located in every town centre.  Councillor Clive Carver commented on the implications for people who had health problems. 

 

Councillor Dolphin raised further concerns around meeting the needs of a large number of people during public events and said that some of the Council owned buildings which had been suggested could be used as an alternative facility to isolated buildings, for example Connects Centres, were not open at evenings or weekends.  He also referred to the £500 grant from the WG to assist local businesses and shops with existing facilities to make provision for the public and said the amount was inadequate to support or encourage use at such premises.  Councillor Dolphin said he supported the initiative of liaison with Town and Community Councils to consider the feasibility of taking over the maintenance and operation of public conveniences.   

 

In response to the concerns raised by Councillor Dolphin concerning access and availability, Councillor Bernie Attridge commented on the proposal to consider use of the public facilities which were already available in libraries, leisure centres, restaurants, pubs  and supermarkets. 

 

Councillor Nancy Matthews also commented on the need to for consideration of provision for tourists and public events  to be  taken into account.  She sought further information around Corporate Asset Transfers (CAT) and urged the Authority to proceed with caution.  Councillor Attridge acknowledged the concerns raised  and referred to the timescales for the proposals as outlined in the report which were 2017/18 with the exception of the facility at Talacre.  He advised that a number of Town and Community Councils had already expressed an interest to the Authority in the opportunity to pursue the CAT option.  The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) explained that if a CAT was not feasible then the Authority would give consideration to other options available.

 

Councillor Paul Shotton reported on the use of the public convenience facilities provided at the Connects Centre based in Connah’s Quay which  attracted people to the Centre.  He said the facilities were well used and there had been no incidents of anti social behaviour arising as frequently occurred in isolated buildings.  Councillor Shotton suggested that there was a need to make local businesses aware of the funding available from the WG to assist them to make their facilities available to the public.  Councillor Ann Minshull commented on the benefits to local businesses and shops in generating increased ‘footfall’ and trade to their premises.

 

In response to a request from Councillor Matthews for regular updates on the CAT process with Town and Community Councils, Councillor Attridge agreed to provide a briefing paper to update members of the Committee as and when there was further information to report.

 

Councillor Clive Carver asked if the Authority supplied portable toilets.  The Chief Officer advised that the Authority did not provide portable conveniences but did supply a list of where public conveniences were available, including Authority owned sites, for its employees who were not based in a building and cited waste operatives as an example.

 

Councillor Colin Legg emphasised the need for a public convenience to be situated in all town centres and opined that this should be made a statutory provision.

 

Councillor Chris Dolphin reiterated the view expressed by Councillor Legg that there should be statutory provision of public conveniences in town centres.  He suggested that a caveat be added to the recommendation in the report to request that the WG provides adequate funding for such provision.  He also commented on the need to regenerate economic growth in town centres.  During discussion it was agreed that Councillor Bernie  Attridge would write on behalf of the Authority to the WG to make representations for funding for public conveniences.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee recommends approval of the outcome of the final review

of the Public Convenience service provision to Cabinet.

 

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