TWO County Councillors from Burry Port have expressed their concern over the loss of toilets from Burry Port Harbour.
Cllr Amanda Fox and Cllr John James allege that the Marine Group said that there was no justification for the toilets near to the boat yard and that they have been subsequently removed.
In a joint statement the councillors said: “We cannot agree with the taking away the toilets at the Lifeboat side of Burry Port Harbour and the comments made by the Marine Group that there isn’t a justification for them.
Members of the public have asked us to help and support them in getting this decision reversed so we have approached the Marine Group and Carmarthenshire County Council but unfortunately to no avail.
We felt the next step was to make sure the public knew of the response to our request and to ensure that the Marine Group and Carmarthenshire County Council knew how strongly Burry Port residents and visitors to our town felt at the negative response to our request to reinstate the toilets.
The best way to do this was for us to initiate a petition which also had a comment box so that members of the public could not only show support but also contribute to how they felt regarding these actions.
A key factor in this issue is that the public are not asking for additional toilets, they are requesting that the ones removed be replaced. The fact that the toilets have been there for several years demonstrates how important the facilities have been and still are.
We have an ageing population that suffer from the ailments and unfortunate conditions that come in later life and readily available toilets play a very important part in ensuring that they can cope with these needs in a proper and dignified manner.
But it’s not just the elderly that this action impacts upon. Other vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children and people with disabilities, as well as their carers, are also affected.
Expecting these groups to walk up to 5 minutes for a toilet and then walk back to where they started from is perceived by members of the public as lacking compassion and inconsiderate and goes against the County Council’s Well-being objectives of “Supporting the growing numbers of older people to maintain dignity and independence in their later years” and to “Help people live healthy lives”.
We have posed the question; has engaging the Private Sector and/or exploring the availability of S106 money been investigated, but received a negative reply.
A great deal of effort and determination with the aim of investing in, improving on and harnessing the appeal and potential of Burry Port as somewhere to visit and live in has been applied by Carmarthenshire County Council and is part of a long term strategy for the area.
So, it’s a shame that the removal of these toilets is causing so much resentment and consternation when there are so many positive things happening and planned for the Burry Port Harbour area and these should be the issues the public should discussing and involved in.
We, as elected County Council Representatives for Burry Port represent Burry Port on Carmarthenshire County Council first and foremost and not the other way round and that’s we urge everyone who has an opportunity to sign the petition to please do so, so we can demonstrate we are not alone at showing our total dismay and absolute dissatisfaction at this totally objectionable action.
We contacted the Marine Group and spoke to Operations Director Rob Freeman. He said: “We have no authority to remove toilets. They are council toilets. We are installing toilets and shower blocks for boat owners use. We look after our own customers.I can’t comment on why they have been removed.”
We contacted Carmarthenshire County Council to ask why the toilets have been removed and if there were plans to reinstate them or open the toilets on the other side of the harbour.
A spokesperson said: “There are public toilets on the west side of the harbour and also by the railway station, both of which are within a five-minute walk of the new RNLI building.”