PUBLIC toilets in Rye are in a disgusting and shameful state and create a bad impression to visitors.
That is the damning verdict of councillors and members of the public who voiced their concerns on a web forum.
Blown up pictures of dirty wash basins and damp cubicles strewn with toilet paper told their own grim story when they were pinned up at Rye Town Hall when the full council met on Monday.
Toilets causing concern are those at Crownfields outside the railway station.
Resident Margot Dixon said: “The toilets opposite the station are in an appalling state.
“On one occasion, a coach-load of German tourists descended on the toilets when I was about to leave them, and although my German in non-existent, I could tell from their facial expressions that they were as disgusted as I was.
“Toilet paper is scarce there is a fragment of soap on one sink. The floor and sinks are filthy and there are no hooks on the doors to enable one to put handbags and shopping off the filthy and wet floor.
“Rother told me liquid soap dispensers are not used in public toilets as they are the subject of vandalism, yet toilets in Hastings have them.
“This is another case of Rye being treated as the poor relation to everyone else. These toilets are a vile and unhealthy eyesore and need to be sorted out.
“I challenged anyone at the Council to come to these toilets and see how they would manage with shopping bags and perhaps a toddler in tow. Needless to say, my challenge was not taken up.
Jean Floyd, from Watchbell Street, said: “We have visitors from Third World countries whose facilities they, and we, recognise are superior to ours.
Rye councillor Mary Smith said: “There are a lot of things about those toilets which cause disquiet. There bare bad smells, soggy paper on the floor, a lack of soap as well as peeling paint and blown plaster, which is a ripe breeding ground for bacteria.
“We pay a lot in council tax. No-one is asking for the Ritz, just basic cleanliness.
“What must visitors who gain their first Impression of Rye from those toilets think of the town?
The complaints about the toilets coincide with a statement from Rother that it is putting on hold its toilet renovation programme.
Public toilets at Pett, Rye Harbour, Winchelsea Beach and Winchelsea town have all been identified as being in urgent need of refurbishment or redevelopment.
Rye councillors voted to ask Rother Council how and when it monitors the toilets and what are the criteria for triggering repairs.
Rother District Council head of amenities Kim Ross said: “We would apologise to anyone who finds our toilets in an unacceptable state.
“However we would point out the toilets are cleaned twice a day, three times at peak use, and generally are in a clean state. We are sorry though if visitors found this not to be the case.
“If there is ever a problem with the cleanliness of the toilets, members of the public and the town council can contact us on 01424 787000 and we will dispatch a team to get the problem fixed as soon as possible.
Where we can devolve responsibility for certain toilets to parish and town councils, some refurbishment may take place, but councillors have said the wider refurbishment programme should wait until the long term financial picture is known.”