A GRANDMOTHER awaiting a bladder operation says she was forced to use toilets in a Barry coffee shop when council staff refused to let her use the toilet at the Civic Offices.

Seventy-year-old Christine Ellis, of Walker Road, Barry, who is registered disabled, had been visiting the Holton Road premises with her friend Joyce Gamble, 74, of Lennox Road, to obtain some recycling items when she found she needed to use the lavatory.

But, she said, when she explained she was disabled, she was told she was unable to use the facilities which had been declared for staff use only.

Mrs Ellis then had to leave, without the items she had wanted, and use the customer toilet at Costa Coffee – further along Holton Road.

Mrs Ellis said: “We were trying to get some bags and recycling stuff.

“I was told we weren’t allowed to use the toilets.

“I wasn’t very happy.

“I suffer with my bladder.

“He said: “It’s not our problem.”

“It didn’t seem to bother him.”

Mrs Ellis said her misery was further compounded when Vale council cabinet member for neighbourhood services and transport Cllr Geoff Cox reiterated the Civic Offices toilet use policy.

In his a letter to Mrs Ellis, Cllr Cox said: “The toilets in the Civic Offices were for a period of time open to the public.

“However, they were left in a terrible state, such that they were not fit or safe enough to be used by the staff or public.

“It is because of this that they are now restricted to staff only.

“I hope that this explains the position.”

Mrs Gamble, who was with Mrs Ellis at the time, said she was “disgusted” that there were no public toilets in a building funded by the public.

“The toilets have been shut for a long time,” she said.

“There are no public toilets in the area.

“What are people supposed to do?

“Go behind a tree?

“She’s waiting for an operation on her bladder.

“When she’s got to go, she’s got to go.”

Mrs Gamble added: “If you are desperate, the nearest place is Costa.

“The nearest place open to the public is the library and you have to go upstairs.

“It’s open at 9.30am.”

A Vale council spokesman said: “The toilets in the Civic Offices had to be closed to the public after persistent incidents of vandalism. However, there are various public toilets maintained by the council that the public can use in Barry town centre, including within the multi-storey car park on Holton Road and the library on King Square.

“Members of the public who are registered disabled are permitted to use toilet facilities in the Civic Offices and reception staff will be reminded of that fact in light of this incident.

“We would like to apologise to Ms Ellis and will be contacting her as part of our investigation into what happened.”

In November 2017, Vale council staff were raising funds to twin the 16 toilets in the Civic Offices, Barry Dock offices, Barry library and the mayor’s parlour with third world toilets in Burundi and Cambodia.