The plans have angered locals and businesses in the area

‘It should be a public right’: Locals and businesses criticise plans to charge for using toilets on Barry Island

A council’s plan to charge people for using public toilets on Barry Island can ‘only be a bad thing’, local businesses have said.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council wants to introduce a payment system for toilets at the popular seaside resort that it said it would generate £5,000 a year.

It comes as part of several new charges and fee increases as the council attempts to plug a £7m budget gap.

The plans are expected to save the council £5,000 a year

But, the proposals to charge people using the beach and other attractions on the island have been criticised, as during the summer, the island can attract up to 20,000 tourists.

Ellie Meehan is a barister at Coastal Coffee and says that Barry Island gets so busy during the summer, that they’ve had to install codes on the bathrooms as more and more people queue out the door to use their toilets:

There’s been times where this queue has been so long here that I’ve had to go over and use the public toilets quickly because it’s just beyond crazy here in the summer” 

Ellie Meehan

Glenn Griffiths owns cafe Whitmore and Jackson and shared Ellie’s concerns. He said: “During the summer months, we’re already stretched with the public trying to use the toilets on the cafe premises and this is only going to add to it and cause more problems”.

A number of people told CJS News people should have the right to free toilets, with one resident arguing: “People pay their taxes so it should be a part of the services Barry Island provides”. 

The issue was discussed during an environment scrutiny committee meeting where Labour ward member for St Bride’s Major, Cllr Joanna Proteroe said:

For me it should be a public right. It is about health and dignity.” 

She added that the new proposal would only save the council a small amount of money.

Emma Reed, Head of Neighbourhood Services and Transport at Vale of Glamorgan  Council told council members that it is “not a proposal to charge for all public toilets in the county”, Wales Online reports. She added the council is “mainly looking at more the people who come to visit” coastal hotspots and the charge will help with the “massive” bills associated with cleaning and maintaining the facilities.

A decision on the plans will be finalised in a council meeting on 6 March.