Loo closure is inconvenient

Tara Whyte and Pete McGuiness were against the pub being used as part of the Community Toilet Scheme
Tara Whyte and Pete McGuiness were against the pub being used as part of the Community Toilet Scheme

Polgate MP Norman Baker has slammed a decision to close the town’s public toilets permanently and is urging Wealden District Council (WDC) to have a re-think.

Mr Baker said the cabinet voted for the facility in Polegate’s High Street to close despite concerns on the impact on disabled visitors.

The move comes following a review of public toilets across the district to look at a Community Toilet Scheme being put in place, where businesses provide such facilities instead. But the MP said according to documents provided to the Cabinet, the council is yet to even consult with local businesses to see whether they are willing to participate.

He added, “Retaining the public toilets in Polegate has a lot of support in the town as highlighted by the strong petition that was presented to the Cabinet, yet despite this the council has gone ahead with the closure anyway.

“Somewhat incredibly it has, by its own admission, not even asked local businesses whether they would be happy to join a Community Toilet Scheme which seems like pretty shoddy planning to me. I think that the council needs to rethink this decision.”

Cllr Graham Wells, Cabinet member for Housing and Asset Management, said WDC has responsibility for the maintenance, repairs and cleaning of 10 toilets across the district, costing £260,000 annually which is no longer sustainable, adding, “The petition against the closure of Polegate toilets came before we had the chance to launch the necessary consultation with the Town Council, local businesses and Network Rail regarding a community toilet scheme. With the help of Councillors Stephen and Oi Lin Shing, this process has now been started.

“Six months is a reasonable time to allow for the scheme to take off.

“In view of the response this initiative has been met with in other parts of Wealden, we do not expect it to be a problem. It can offer a range of well-maintained toilets, many with disabled access, and economic support to those businesses taking part.”