IT feels like we are being treated like a "piggy bank for the county council” over public toilets in Pembrokeshire, the chief executive of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has said.

The issue of public toilets, particularly at Poppit Sands, and whether the authority should take over their running was the subject of lengthy debate at a recent meeting.

Four toilets are currently owned by PCNPA but operated by PCC: Manorbier, Newport (Traeth Mawr), Poppit Sands, and St. David’s (The Grove).

A report by the chief executive, Tegryn Jones, said that while public toilets are integral to a successful destination, the authority has “no experience of managing toilets” and the county council’s letter threatening withdrawal was "disappointing".

Mr Jones suggested in his report that it might be more appropriate for PCNPA to take over managing the beaches from PCC, freeing up money for continued funding of the toilets.

The meeting was told that there had been discussions with the four communities about the possibility of community asset transfers, but due to the small residential populations this was beyond their budgets.

Councillor Reg Owens said he thought the authority should step in and take over the toilet if it meant them closing.

Cllr Owen said: “I personally think the National Park should do their bit as well. The toilets are a very important part of tourism. They are essentially part of the tourist scene.”

Responding to a question on how PCC is delivering the toilets currently, and if they are making money from them, Mr Jones said that PCC was struggling to deliver the service.

Cllr Mike James agreed that toilets on Poppit Sands are important. He said: “Poppit Sands is one that sits next to a National Park carpark.

“It is more than just a toilet, it’s about tourism - outdoor recreation - it’s about business and the blue flag that people look for when they go there. People know it is a clean beach.

“The café would have to change the way they work if there are no toilets there.”

Cllr James added that the intention should be to keep the toilets open but there should be a local solution.

Mr Jones said PCNPA was operating within a fixed budget and discussions with PCC should be about more than just toilets but where they can make a contribution, for example taking over running of some function.

The chairman was concerned that taking over running amenities like toilets would be going beyond the PCNPA remit and if they were to take over toilets he questioned if other people would expect them to take over other areas.

Chairman Paul Harries said: “We agree that toilets are important but so are road conditions, where does it stop?”

It was agreed that the authority would have further discussions with the county council but that funding toilets would not be "an area we agree currently".