THOUSANDS of bonfire revellers set to descend on Rye on November 9 could find themselves with nowhere to spend a penny.
Rye Bonfire Society has raised serious concerns over the prospect of closed public lavatories on the night.
A bonfire spokesman said: “Thousands of people are brought in by train from Ashford and Hastings.
“Rye Railway Station does not have any toilets for its passengers and they depend on the public toilets in Station Approach, paid for by Rye ratepayers.
“Rother District Council understandably, because of the risk of vandalism, do not want to open those toilets on Bonfire Night but will, with security.
“We have suggested that either Southern Railway supplies the security or pays a donation towards our security company who are fully competent.
“Last year, due to refusal on their part, our Mayor Shaun Rogers paid from his own Mayoral allowance for the security to cover these toilets. We have written to Southern Rail to ask if they will pay a contribution to the situation that they have created and they have refused.
“Whilst we as a Society are confident that the majority of the Rye population support us and the event, a trend has seemed to develop over the last five years .
That is Southern Railways activities in bringing in thousands of young people, many aged around 14, from Hastings but mostly from Ashford who stretch our own marshalling activities, increase our costs in professional stewarding security and, of course, indirectly affect the Rye rate payer in the cost of additional policing.
“This faction puts zero in our collecting buckets.
“It was becoming apparent to us about three years ago that an awful lot of these people travelling from Ashford were travelling without tickets and passing the word on amongst themselves by text, this was due to the ticket office at Ashford, which is run by a different rail company other than Southern Rail, was closing due to the sheer number of people , exacerbating the number getting a free ride to Rye.
“We had asked Southern Rail to stop advertising Rye Bonfire, certainly at Ashford, and where they were known to be advertising as far away as main line stations in London.
“Only when Southern Rail became aware that they were remiss in collecting revenue did they agree that British Transport Police would be better focusing on preventing these young people leaving Ashford, rather just ‘frisking’ them and letting them loose in Rye.
“We would think Southern Rail, as a major business operating in Rye and whose revenues increase dramatically on Bonfire Night, whenthey admit to carrying greater than 2,000 extra people and adding coaches to trains that night, would want to be one of the major contributors to our event – sadly that is not the case.”