News | Emily Gill - Local Democracy Reporting Service | Published: 13:31, Friday August 7th, 2020.
Last updated: 13:44, Friday August 7th, 2020
Public toilets in Caerphilly County Borough will remain closed until Welsh Government guidance around cleaning changes, despite calls to reopen them.
Caerphilly’s Plaid Cymru group has called for the council to reopen public toilets in parks, provided it is safe to do so.
The leader of Caerphilly’s Plaid group, Councillor Colin Mann, said it makes little sense that the refreshment kiosk in Ystrad Mynach Park is open, but the park’s toilets are shut.
He said: “I’ve been to the park and talked to staff and they tell me that 20-30 people a day are asking about the toilets.
“I’m aware that some parents with young children have been forced to find somewhere else in the park where their children can go to the toilet.
“The ironic thing is that disabled people, who have radar keys, can access the disabled loos in Ystrad.
“I have requested that council officers review this situation and resolve the problem.”
Ystrad Mynach councillor Martyn James said: “We’re in the middle of the school holidays and with good weather many parents will want to take their children to the park only to find the toilets shut.
Angela Crabtree, who runs the Old Library Cafe in Morgan Jones Park, Caerphilly, has put locks on the toilets inside the cafe, which are for customer use only.
However, Ms Crabtree said there “hasn’t been a backlash” as a result of the rules.
She said: “There is a duty of care for the public toilets to be open, but I appreciate the risks associated with it.”
However, the council has said that toilets cannot be reopened until Welsh Government guidance on cleaning changes.
A spokesman said: “To operate safely, Welsh Government state that frequently touched surfaces should be wiped down twice a day and one of these should be at the at the beginning or the end of the working day.
“Cleaning should be more frequent depending on the number of people using the toilets, whether users are entering and exiting the facilities, there should be access to handwashing and hand-sanitizing facilities.
“This is something that we do not have the resources to manage to the extent required to protect users from possibly contracting coronavirus.
“Public safety is of paramount importance and we must operate within the guidelines to ensure this.
“These facilities will be opened when it is safe to do so and we have had further guidance from Welsh Government.”
Morgan Jones ward councillors Jamie Pritchard and Shayne Cook said they “really want the toilets reopened as soon as possible, but only when it’s safe to do so,” and said it’s “wrong to imply that simple solutions exists when Covid is still with us.”
Despite this, other Welsh authorities such as Cardiff Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council have already reopened their public toilets in parks.
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