THE latest threat to the fabric of Rye could see the town’s public conveniences shutting.

Rother Council, who run and maintain the facilities, say there is no statutory duty for them to do so and that they can no longer afford it.

They are banking on Rye Town Council and small parish councils to take over the running and maintenance of many public conveniences.

Among facilities under threat are those outside the rail station and main coach park at Rye.

What message does it send to visitors and tourists who arrive in the centre of town after a long journey only to find the toilets shut up?

Interestingly, Rother has ruled out closing toilets which are based at car parks they own in Rye and Camber, where they receive a substantial revenue.

If Rother Council goes down this route it risks developing the already common perception of a town and country divide. People will inevitably ask why thousands of pounds have been pumped into developing Bexhill seafront and the De La Warr Pavilion when they cannot even afford to run a public toilet.

Rother already has a poor track record of maintaining public conveniences in the town to a high standard , with visitors complaining about the smell and lack of basic facilities such as soap.

There have even been two occasions when bungling contractors have closed the toilets up trapping people inside them.

It is a world of difference to Hastings where clean and properly maintained toilets have even gained awards.

Aside from the fact that Rye has a high proportion of elderly and disabled residents who rely on these facilities, Rye is a tourist town that relies on visitors for its income and to provide jobs and livelihoods.

We maintain that public conveniences are not a fancy extra but a core facility that people contribute council tax to and have a right to expect.

Any move to close them would be a hugely retrograde step that would reflect badly on the town.