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Toilets blocks could be flushed out in move to save council £500,000

By Jonny Drury | Mid Wales | Politics | Published:

A host of toilet blocks across Powys could close as a council looks to save almost £500,000 over the next three years.

Back in 2014 Powys County Council said that unless agreements could be reached with town and community councils, toilet facilities would close across the region.

Some closed, however some were taken over by the local town and community councils with some grant funding from the local authority.

However, now a report from councillor Phyl Davies, Powys County Council's portfolio holder for assets, has proposed to end the grant scheme over the next there years.

Some town and community councils currently get grants of up to £7,000. If the grants stop it means the authorities will have to find alternative funding.

Councillor Davies's report states that if councils or organisations do not come forward to take the remaining facilities, they will have to close.

He said: "Some operators may have no alternative source of raising revenue funding and in these cases there is a risk that more facilities may close.

"The HTR service will not have a budget to operate these toilets and it is therefore expected that these toilets will have to close and be declared surplus."

Some toilets which have closed are in the process of being transferred to other organisations, and currently 56 facilities around the county are being run by other organisations.

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In Brecon and Ystradgnylais, the local authority has continued to run two toilets at transport interchanges.

The proposal is for 38 toilet facilities to have their grant funding stopped by this year, 12 to expire in March 2019, and a further five to be ended in 2020.

Since 2015, the council has pledged almost £200,000 per year in grants, however next year the cut back of funding will save the council £100,000, £160,000 in the year 2019/20, and that will rise to £185,750 in the year 2020/21.

Councillor Davies added: "The council currently own a toilet stock and are in the process of transferring responsibilities for operating and ownership to future operators.

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"The council has supported the incumbent operator’s transition for a minimum of three years, enabling them scope to find alternative funding streams for future maintenance and running costs.

"The council therefore rely solely on the third sector to maintain and run toilet facilities within Powys. Toilets handed back by operators will be declared surplus to requirements."

The proposal, which will be discussed by the council in the coming weeks will see grants to smaller councils and organisations cut, and Welsh Government funding of £25,000 continued to be use for specific toilet facilities on trunk roads.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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