Community collaboration ambitious at Penllyn, Meirionnydd for public toilets


Penllyn Partnership, a collaboration of five community councils in Meirionnydd could be a blueprint for similar community partnerships bringing investment to specific areas across the whole of Gwynedd says Bala’s Gwynedd Councillor, Dilwyn Morgan

“We are fortunate here in the Bala area that Partneriaeth Penllyn, established eight years ago, is keen to ensure that local services and amenities remain at the core in this area of Meirionnydd.

“The idea came about for the Partnership as there was a clear vision to work together between four community councils and the town council here at Bala.

Community Councils at Llandderfel, Llangywer, Llanycil and Llanuwchllyn form part of the Partnership, together with Bala Town Council.

“As central government funding for local authorities continues to diminish, we are in a strong position here in Penllyn to be able to look outside the box and secure investment jointly for our communities from elsewhere,” explains Huw Antur from Partneriaeth Penllyn.

One of the projects the Partnership is looking to develop and secure investment for are public toilets for the area.

Two Gwynedd Council run toilets located at the Green Car Park and Plase Car Park at Bala have recently transferred management to Bala Town Council as part of Gwynedd Council’s Town and Community Partnership scheme. Some local businesses in the area also open their doors and offer their toilets for community use, businesses such as Plas Coch, Caffi Jan and the Goat.

“We are keen to ensure our public toilets are attractive for public use, are of the highest standard, are strategically placed and are open as and when people need them,” said Huw Antur.

“Our discussions with Gwynedd Council are both positive and progressive, and as Penllyn Partnership we are keen to ensure that this area of Meirionnydd has great amenities and services where they are needed for local people’s use, for businesses and visitors to the area,” he said.

Already members of Penllyn Partnership have visited new public toilets in the Powys area to see how they could achieve ambitious plans for investing in public toilets in Bala town.

“We are keen to continue to look at alternative plans for investing in these old concrete buildings, explains Councillor Dilwyn Morgan. “ We want to make them attractive, clean and available to people as and when they are needed. These buildings and the service we provide here in Bala should give people the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet discussed the latest stage of their public convenience provision at their meeting on 27 June. Due to on-going financial cuts from the Tory Government in London to public services, Gwynedd is forced to look at many of its local services and find efficiency savings.

“This is a difficult process, one which we strongly oppose,” said new Gwynedd Cabinet Member, Gareth Griffith. “Our hands are tied as we continue to try and ensure as many of our public services remain open, whilst at the same time, Westminster and the Labour government in Cardiff continue to cut local authority funding.

“I would like to pay tribute to the community and town councils in many Gwynedd communities for rising to this challenge, and working with us to look at the options available to ensure provision remains high. Our priority is to ensure that local councillors are given the best opportunity and support to take ownership and management of public conveniences across Gwynedd so that our public toilets remain open.”

Currently 51 Community or Town Councils in Gwynedd have agreed to ensure that the provision of public conveniences remain central to their communities. One community, namely Pennal will transfer to the community within the year. Discussions are on-going regarding 22 of the other public conveniences currently owned by Gwynedd Council.

“We are continuing to discuss with community councils regarding the remaining areas, where 22 toilets are located. Working together, our hope is to ensure that public convenience provision remains central to these villages and towns,” said Councillor Gareth Griffiths.