Question from: County Councillor Matthew Dorrance Subject: Public Toilets
The Cabinet’s proposed budget includes further cuts to public toilet provision for Brecon and Ystradgynlais.
The Council’s own public toilet strategy states that public toilets are “an important factor in delivering an open and inclusive environment, encouraging people to socialise, take exercise, and to be more physically active, as well as spend time in our town centres.”
The strategy further notes that “The provision of publically accessible toilets is essential to ensuring people’s wellbeing and their overall enjoyment of Powys, therefore long term solutions need to be developed in order to ensure future provision.”
Therefore, will the Cabinet explain how this budget cut proposal will enable the Council to deliver on its public toilet strategy, meet the objectives set out in Vision 2025 and why it has not yet engaged with the Town Councils about its proposals?
Response by the Portfolio Holder:
The proposal retains the element of budget for the 2020-2021 financial year, which allows for the continued operation of the Interchange toilets in Brecon and Ystradgynlais, and provides sufficient time for discussions to be undertaken with potential operators for the sites from 2021/22 onwards.
Many towns and communities have successfully operated toilet facilities for some years now, and we will be seeking early engagement to see if a suitable operating agreement could be reached ahead of next year. If early agreement is reached, and an in-year transfer transpires, then this would be supported with appropriate budget for the remainder of 2020/21, and thus allow for their continued operation without any undue impact on Town Council budgets during the year.
The budget will be considered by Council shortly and if approved I will arrange for officers to commence discussions with the town councils effected as soon as practicable.
Successfully delivering the aspirations of the Council vision 2025 whist budgets are so limited or reducing, will rely on us being much more innovative in the way outcomes are realised. Communities have already demonstrated success in taking over responsibility for delivery of some local services, supporting more locally focused and sustainable outcomes.