NEWPORT council is proposing to declare public toilets in Caerleon as surplus to requirements, allowing for their potential sale.

The toilets, next to the town hall, were closed by the city council as part of budget savings agreed for 2018/19.

But the move was met with anger from residents in Caerleon.

Following discussions, the council announced in July that separate toilets in Caerleon Pavilion, in Broadway, would be open for the next 12 months.

Arrangements were also made to allow public access to the toilets in Caerleon Town Hall, next to the property.

A council report, prepared ahead of an cabinet member decision on the issue, says: "The closure was further debated at Council in July 2018 where it was reiterated that the closure had undergone extensive consultation at the time of the budget and that the measures Newport City Council had negotiated, as alternative options to the existing facilities, were sufficient to cover the loss of the facilities."

The report says the decision - which would allow for the sale or lease of the toilets - is aimed at finding an alternative long-term use for the building, and to prevent it from falling into disrepair.

Former public toilets have increasingly been converted into small cafes, shops or even performance studios, it says.

The report says any of these uses "would work well within Caerleon" and ensure a sustainable use.

The council document also reveals that residents have shown interest in the availability of the toilets for use as commercial premises, with informal planning comments currently being sought.

The cabinet member decision, scheduled for Wednesday, has been put out to councillors for consultation and has drawn a mixed reaction.

Ward councillor Joan Watkins (Conservative) said: "It is alleged that facilities are available in the town hall however this is not the case when the town hall is closed or when the caretaker is off site as access is then denied.

"To follow the shameful decision to close these toilets with this decision to sell them off so quickly is an insult and affront to both visitors and residents some 700 of the latter who signed a petition against the closure."

But Cllr Gail Giles (Labour), also representing Caerleon, said it is important the old toilet block is made available by sale or lease for the benefit of the community.

Cllr Giles pointed to the "increased availability" of the toilets in the town hall which are "more comfortable."

Cllr Jason Hughes (Caerleon, Labour) said the disposal of the building was a "separate issue" to the decision to close the toilets.

He added: "The council would I believe be acting appropriately in considering suitable uses for this building on a sale or lease basis in order to minimise costs of maintenance to the public purse over coming years and also ideally providing space that can be of use to the community and avoid the building becoming an eye sore."