Wales needs more public toilets, according to the results of a survey published today by Age Cymru.
The charity says that the only answer to this problem is to change the law so that local authorities are obliged to provide public toilets.
Age Cymru’s findings are contained in its new report, ‘Towards Common Ground – Key Findings of the Community Calculator’.
The reportwhich questioned 670 people across Wales about how well their local community meets their needs and those of older people.
Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development Victoria Lloyd says:
“Over half the people we surveyed - 54 per cent, said public toilets in their area were poor.
“The most common complaints we received were an overall lack of toilet facilities in people’s communities; toilets being closed when people needed to use them, and issues about the cleanliness and hygiene of the toilets that were available.
“A lack of toilets can compromise older people’s dignity, leading to them becoming isolated because they’re afraid to venture out.
“And this isn’t just an issue for older people - people with disabilities, pregnant women and parents with young children need access to clean and convenient public toilets.
“In the current economic climate it is even more vital that community facilities which help people to remain active are provided across Wales and ensuring toilets are available does not need to cost significant sums of money.
“The network of public toilets in Wales must be protected and this is why Age Cymru wants the law changed so that local authorities are bound by law to have to provide public toilets in their areas.”
Age Cymru is calling for:
• A statutory duty on local authorities in Wales to provide public toilets;
• Public toilets to be provided in convenient locations and be accessible clean and open when people need them;
• No public toilets to be closed before consultation with local residents, and without due consideration to providing a realistic alternative;
• Greater publicity and expansion of schemes to encourage private companies and premises to enable people to use those existing facilities;