Public toilets repair programme on hold

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RESIDENTS of Pett, Rye Harbour and Winchelsea, desperate to see the public conveniences refurbished may have to cross their legs after Rother Council’s Cabinet resolved to place an investment programme “on hold”.

Relief for some may come through parish and town councils taking on responsibility for loos in their areas, and officers were cleared to hold immediate talks to those councils which have said they might wish to do this.

A number of public conveniences in the Rye area have been identified as being in urgent need of refurbishment, demolition or redevelopment - Pett Level, Rye Harbour, Winchelsea Beach and Winchelsea Town.

There are also toilets in Bexhill falling into that category, including those at East Parade, West Parade, Marina and Devonshire Square.

Cabinet heard that to deal with this work would cost around £1 million, and to attend to all 32 public conveniences in the district would likely cost four times this amount.

Council leader Carl Maynard said: “There is a cost that is greater than I think Joe Public actually realises. We are going to have to take some tough decisions.”

Members were reminded that there is no statutory requirement for the council to provide public toilets, but were also aware that where loos are in poor repair it presents a poor image of that location, the Council and Rother as a whole.

A further report is to be made to Cabinet. If monies can be raised from the sale of assets it might be possible to tackle the worst cases, and refurbishment might also be achieved where responsibility can be passed to town and parish councils.

Commenting on the situation this week, Rye district councillor Sam Souster said: “The Cabinet has resolved to put this investment programme on hold indefinitely.

“As it has been known for some time that RDC wish to dispose of this service, one could ask how much this abortive Director of Services’ report has cost.”