All stand-alone public toilets in Carmarthenshire could be closed down under council plans to save more than £200,000. Carmarthenshire Council currently manages 19 public conveniences across the county, including in the towns of Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford and popular tourist spots including Laugharne, Llansteffan and Pendine.

Of that 19, 14 of the toilets are separate public convenience buildings, and therefore not part of a larger building such as a county hall or a library. Some of those are free to use while others require a small fee to enter. Despite many believing that having access to toilets in towns and villages is essential, there is in fact “no statutory requirement for the council to provide and operate public toilets". You can keep up to date with the latest Carmarthenshire news by signing up to the local newsletter here.

That fact, coupled with a need in Carmarthenshire to address major budget pressures , has resulted in the authority seeking to eventually transfer the responsibility, management and upkeep of public toilets to others, such as private companies or community councils. However, if that is unsuccessful and the council is unable to secure asset transfers, toilets across the county will be closed for good.

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That move has been deferred for the time being until 2025/26 following feedback given during a public consultation to the council’s 2024/25 budget strategy, in which the authority confirmed it “needs to bridge a shortfall of over £22m” following the Welsh Government’s below-inflation funding settlement of 3.3%” which was announced before Christmas.

Not being responsible for the upkeep and management of the 14 toilet blocks would, it is estimated, secure a saving of £210,000 over a three-year period, with the council admitting that “very difficult decisions lie ahead”. The plan to defer some savings has meant council tax in Carmarthenshire will go up more steeply than first thought over the coming financial year - it was originally envisaged to increase by 6.5% but will now go up by 7.5%. You can read about that in more detail here.

On the original budget consultation, the council wrote: “We currently have 19 local authority managed public conveniences in Carmarthenshire, 14 of which are separate public convenience buildings.” In terms of the savings proposal, the council suggested it should: “Look for opportunities to asset transfer the 14 local authority managed public conveniences to private companies or town and community councils; if unsuccessful the 14 public convenience buildings facilities will be closed.”

If and when some or all of the public toilets do close, it could have a “devastating” impact on locals and tourism according to one angry anonymous commentator who said: “They want to close all standalone public toilets in Carmarthenshire - the effect on the public will be devastating. What will the tourists think of the county? It’s back to the 1800s in terms of speed of travel at 20mph and no public toilets. We may as well go back to our caves because we can’t afford the council tax or electricity for our homes!”

Carmarthenshire Coouncil has stressed that it has listened to those who took part in the consultation process and guaranteed that public toilets across the county will remain open at least for the 12-month period from April. The cabinet member for resources at the council, Alun Lenny, said: “Following a high number of responses to an extensive public consultation to the 2024-25 budget strategy, the council has deferred a £210,000 reduction of funding to its public conveniences budget until 2025/26, pending asset transfer option consultation. This means the 14 standalone public toilets will remain open and operational during this forthcoming year.”

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