Wales

Public toilet closures in Caerphilly county opposed by residents

Councillor Kevin Etheridge and resident Janet Lane with a petition to save Blackwood bus station toilets Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Councillor Kevin Etheridge and Blackwood resident Janet Lane are fighting to save public toilets

Caerphilly council is being urged to reverse its decision to close five blocks of public toilets next month.

A petition supporting Blackwood bus station toilets has reached more than 1,400 signatures, with 1,000 people against closures in Risca.

Toilets in Bargoed bus station, Ystrad Mynach and Caerphilly's Station Road are also set to close to save £74,000.

Deputy council leader Barbara Jones said it was a "difficult" decision taken amid financial pressures.

Local resident Hannah Godwin had voiced her opposition to the closure of the toilets in Blackwood on social media before stepping up the fight.

"My children use the nearby park regularly but it's close to shops and the bus station, and I've seen bus drivers use the toilets as well," she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'Incredibly short-sighted'

Mrs Godwin said councillors from the ruling Labour group told her that savings would have to be made elsewhere if the toilets were kept open.

But she then heard of plans to spend £175,000 on upgrading the lighting in council offices.

"Our council tax is going up and the council is getting their own refurbishments, so why has it come to deciding between keeping toilets or the meals on wheels service?" she asked.

Plaid Cymru councillor Stephen Kent described the decision as "incredibly short-sighted", adding it would affect elderly and vulnerable residents.

Kevin Etheridge, an independent councillor who backed the Blackwood petition, said residents were "appalled and dismayed" by the decision taken in February following a public consultation.

But he said he had been given hope by developers looking to build a new market square in the town, complete with public toilets.

Jamie Pritchard and Shayne Cook - two Labour councillors representing wards in the town of Caerphilly - have met the Taxi Drivers Association and the council to discuss ways to keep the Station Road toilets open.

Mr Pritchard said: "We're trying to achieve a satisfactory outcome for residents."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites