Blackwood bus station’s cafe could end up a victim of the council’s decision to close the building’s public toilets, it has been claimed.
Five council-run toilets located in towns across the county borough will close next month due to ongoing financial pressures.
Alongside those at Blackwood bus station, toilets at Bargoed bus station; Bedwlwyn Street in Ystrad Mynach; Station Road in Caerphilly town; and Tredegar Street in Risca will all close from April 1.
The toilets at the Twyn in Caerphilly town will remain open as they are attached to the visitor centre at the site.
Customers of Blackwood bus station’s cafe use the public toilets there, and the leaseholder of the council-owned building said their closure could spell the end of her business.
Emma Breeze, 42, took over the cafe last year and has invested around £100,000 upgrading its interior and its kitchen.
The cafe itself does not have a customer toilet and is dependent on the public toilets, just outside its entrance to the bus station’s waiting area.
Ms Breeze said she had no warning about the closure of the toilets from the council and had found out from a bus station cleaner.
She claims the move could leave her business operating illegally with customers not having access to toilets.
She said: “I believe that any cafe operating more than ten seats must provide a toilet. It is disgusting.”
Ms Breeze has also suggested the council may be in breach of its lease agreement with her.
Blackwood independent councillor Nigel Dix has agreed to speak with council officers on the issue.
He said: “Blackwood needs people to come in and invest and the council are cutting the legs from Emma and visitors to the town by closing these toilets.
“Sometimes decisions are made and people don’t think of the consequences. A solution needs to be found.”
Meanwhile, taxi drivers have also expressed anger at the closure of the toilets at the top of Caerphilly town.
Chris Bundy, chairman of Caerphilly County Borough Taxi Drivers Association, said: “Why don’t they just put a charge on the toilets instead of closing them? I’d be more than happy to pay a small amount to use them.”
He added: “Our female drivers will have to carry blankets with them to hide their modesty when they need to do their business.
“We’ll have to start using pubs when we need to use the toilets. It’s hard enough to find places to park our taxis.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council said the wider closure plans had been fully publicised and that a public consultation was carried out.
The spokesman added the decision to close the toilets was made with reluctance as part of the £15.6 million savings requirement for 2019/20.
In relation to Blackwood bus station, it has been advised the cafe would not be operating illegally without toilets.
Deputy council leader Barbara Jones said: “Unfortunately we are now faced with making difficult and unpopular decisions due to the huge pressures being placed on our budgets.
“We will continue to do all we can to protect our frontline services and protect our communities, but it is inevitable that non-statutory services like this will be impacted by the scale of the savings that we are required to deliver.”