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COUNCILS URGED TO SPEND A PENNY IN 'KEEP IT OPEN...KEEP IT CLEAN' CAMPAIGN

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A major campaign aimed at encouraging councils to keep open and maintain public toilets and other key public servic...
A major campaign aimed at encouraging councils to keep open and maintain public toilets and other key public services was launched in Rhyl today by tourism chiefs and leading councillors in Wales.

The 'Keep it OpenKeep it Clean!' launch will highlight exemplar facilities at the North Wales resort and is the first joint initiative between the tourism industry in Wales and the WLGA aimed at enabling improvements in local services.

Welsh Local Government Association tourism spokesman Rhiannon Wyn Hughes said:

'Rhyl is the scene of a major turnaround in service provision. A review of facilities has led to extended opening hours and increased maintenance of the seafront toilets. I was receiving many letters about public toilets and I felt there was a need to do something about it.

'Of course, the financial pressures on councils are greater than ever and we are having to make some difficult decisions over resources. But this campaign is about enabling all councils to understand the longer term impact of shorter term decisions and that it is possible to find innovative service solutions. In this instance we felt that people would tolerate a small fee for an essential additional service.

'Sometimes there is a need to close underused facilities in order to allow greater investment in other key areas. This campaign will hopefully raise peoples' awareness that there are different ways of delivering services to meet needs.'

Julian Burrell, chairman of the Wales Tourism Alliance, the umbrella group for tourism businesses in Wales, highlighted the scale of the problem saying:

'Tourism is one of Wales' greatest economic assets. In recent years many within the industry - and many tourists themselves - have bemoaned the lack of local tourism facilities in many parts of Wales. There are just too many sorry seafront sites or beauty spots blighted by public toilets in disrepair, with an inexcusable lack of cleanliness or just left locked up.

'Essentially this campaign is about enabling improvements in local services. The condition of public conveniences and other issues such as litter, increasing the opening hours of tourism information centres and improving street lighting all have major benefits, not only to tourists but to local tax paying residents.

'We urge all local authorities to try to think differently about funding and services and to 'Keep It Open and Keep It Clean' and recognise the correlation between thriving local businesses and sustainable communities.'

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