Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 17:43 UK

Landlady fights to keep loos open

Porthdinllaen beach
Porthdinllaen beach attracts thousands of visitors annually

A businesswoman at an 'iconic' beach is campaigning to save Gwynedd's public toilets from closure.

Brione Webley, the landlady of the Tŷ Coch pub at Porthdinllaen near Morfa Nefyn, said it was madness to close facilities in a tourist area.

The council is looking to close some of its 95 conveniences to save money, but said no decisions had yet been made..

In a separate initiative, the assembly government is encouraging businesses to open their toilets to the public.

In 2006 the long sweeping beach, with the cluster of houses and the Tŷ Coch inn at the end, was used as a location for the film, Half Light, starring Demi Moore.

Porthdinllaen was an 'iconic' image of a Welsh beach used to promote Wales all over the world, according to Mrs Webley.

'Backward step'

"Three years ago I landed at Moscow airport and there was a huge poster of Porthdinllaen on the wall.

"If the place is publicised that far away to close the facilities here is such a backward step," she said.

A petition at the Tŷ Coch was started on 9 August and 2,200 had already signed it, said Mrs Webley.

She believed council plans to close two public toilets on the beach at Nefyn and Morfa Nefyn but to keep two open in the centre of the villages were wrong.

"What kind of message does it give to tourists? It says we don't want you here," she added.

During the winter months the public toilets near the Tŷ Coch are already closed, but Mrs Webley said the pub toilets were left open as "you can't leave people without facilities".

Savings

When Mrs Webley and her late husband arrived at Porthdinllaen in 1968, there was no electricity and no drainage, so chemical toilets were used.

Then a septic tank was put in, but when that then developed problems the council stepped in, in 1973, to pay for electricity so that a public toilet could be built.

"If the need was there then, then it is needed 10-fold by now with the numbers of people who visit here," Mrs Webley added.

Porthdinllaen beach
The long sweeping beach is a well-known image.

A Gwynedd County Council spokesman said operating the 95 public toilets cost £0.9 million annually, and savings had to be made, whilst limiting the effect on the public.

"This review is currently ongoing, and no decision has been made on the possible closure of any public convenience," he added.

The Welsh Assembly Government announced last month that £385,000 was being offered to encourage businesses to open their toilets to the general public.

A spokesman pointed out that it was a separate initiative and it was up to individual councils what they did with their public toilets.

A scheme like this is already running in some parts of the country - in 2005 Richmond borough in London started paying pubs, restaurants and supermarkets to open toilets to non-customers.


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