THE people of Flintshire may soon have to pay to spend a penny.
Flintshire council chiefs are calling for a review of public toilets across the county and one option to be explored is to charge people to use the facilities.
A report by council officer Stephen O Jones, which will be presented to the council’s environment overview and scrutiny committee today, calls for a task and finish group to be set up to consider the future provision of public conveniences.
Other options to be explored include closing the toilets and inviting pubs and shops to open their toilets for public use, making better use of toilets in the council’s one-stop-shops and providing modern, low maintenance ‘super loos’.
But Flint Councillor Alex Aldridge, who sits on the committee, says the decision should lie with the public.
He said: “I understand from Flintshire’s point of view there is a cost, which is clearly high, but they are of enormous benefit to the public.
“But it shouldn’t be just for councillors to decide - ask the public. If you really want to find out how people feel about toilets then go into these areas and ask them.”
Cllr Aldridge said he would support plans to charge to use public conveniences as long as the public is fully consulted.
“A cost to use the toilet closet is nothing unusual,” he said.
“I remember the days when you used to have to pay a penny to use the toilets which used to be opposite the town hall in Flint.
“You need to ask the public if they would be prepared to pay a nominal amount in order to maintain and retain the facility.”
The council operates 10 public toilets in Shotton, Caerwys, Flint, Connah’s Quay, Mold, Holywell, Queensferry, Cilcain and Talacre.
Proposals to close all public toilets were withdrawn from the 2011/12 budget at a meeting of the full council last week, pending a detailed review.
It is expected the review will be completed by June after which recommendations will be made for the future delivery of the public convenience service in the county.