THE second homes council tax premium could provide a lifeline for more than 30 public toilets under threat of potential closure in Pembrokeshire - including Poppit Sands.

The council’s Cabinet, meeting on Monday, February 13, will consider a report on public toilet provision in the county, that proposes 30-plus toilets -many in seaside towns and villages – could be under threat of closure from November, unless community asset transfers are agreed or funding streams are identified.

In 2021-22, public toilets cost Pembrokeshire, facing a budget gap of £18.6m, some £600,000.

A report for Cabinet members states: “The provision of toilets is a discretionary function and due to the current unprecedented financial situation, all current facilities have been reviewed in order to achieve future budget cuts to the service.”

The report splits existing toilets in to two groups, those recommended to be retained, and those “with rationale for closure or transfer if future funding is not identified”.

Some under review, including Poppit Sands, risk losing the area’s Blue Flag status if closed.

Town and community councils may wish to consider funding the facilities through their precepts in order to prevent closures or consider community asset transfers, the report adds.

A difficulty for any local councils who want to take over their toilets is they may have already decided their precept for the year, the report warns.

It suggests a one-year sum of money – £360,000 – be made available from the affordable housing provision collected from the second homes tax premium, currently at a 100 per cent premium in the county.

“This temporary funding would be used to cover the contract costs of the facilities at risk of closure for one year whilst other arrangements are explored and implemented.

“We would be seeking an estimated £360,000 to cover the contract cost of the toilets in Group 2 for 2023-24. After this one-year arrangement, we are proposing that any toilet not fully funded will be closed, unless there are legal or other unique circumstances, or if it is identified that a community council area is financially disproportionately affected by multiple closures.”

The recommendation before Cabinet is to close all PCC funded toilets listed in Group 2, where legally able, from November 5, unless a community asset transfer is agreed – which would be in place by next March – or a funding stream identified, giving those that do a period of grace to March 31 of next year.

It includes the further option of – subject to council consideration – using an element of the Second Homes Council Tax Premium.

Toilets under review include: Abercastle; Abereiddy; Amroth East; Angle; Bosherston; Burton; Broad Haven; Millmoor Way; Carew; Cresswell Quay; Cwm Yr Eglwys; Dale; Freshwater East; Kilgetty; Little Haven; Manorbier; Marloes; Moylegrove; Newgale South; Newport Beach; Newport Parrog; Neyland; Nolton; Penally; Poppit Sands; Porthgain; Pwllgwaelod; Saundersfoot; Solva; St Brides; St Davids Bryn Road; St Davids; Oriel Y Parc Tenby North Beach; Tenby Upper Frog Street; Wisemans Bridge.

Some have potential legal constraints to be investigated and some are partially contributed to by the local council.