MP criticises toilet decision

9/1/13''The launch of the Tipner regeneration, Portsmouth. Pictured L-R Local Transport Minister Norman Baker and  Mike Hancock talk as they arrive''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (1360-5)

9/1/13''The launch of the Tipner regeneration, Portsmouth. Pictured L-R Local Transport Minister Norman Baker and Mike Hancock talk as they arrive''Picture: Paul Jacobs (1360-5)

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MP Norman Baker has called on Wealden District Council to rethink its decision to close public toilet facilities in Polegate permanently.

On Wednesday (July 10) the council’s cabinet members dismissed the option of retaining public toilet facilities in the town.

Mr Baker said the decision was made despite concerns being raised about the impact closing the toilets in the town will have on disabled visitors.

He said the council had decided to adopt a community based scheme where businesses are asked to agree to allow members of the public to use their facilities.

But he claimed according to documents provided to the cabinet the council is yet to consult with the local businesses in the area to see whether they are willing to participate.

He said this contradicted previous assurances by the council that the toilets would close until a community scheme was in place.

Mr Baker said a petition was presented to the cabinet and retaining the toilets has a lot of support.

He said: “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.”

But a spokesman for Wealden District Council said the toilets were no longer economically sustainable.

He said: “Wealden District Council has responsibility for the maintenance, repairs and cleaning of 10 toilets across the district. The annual cost is £260,000 and, in these times of economic restraint, is no longer sustainable.

“The petition against the closure of Polegate toilets came before we had the chance to launch the necessary consultation with the town council (Polegate), local businesses and Network Rail regarding the community toilet scheme.

“With the help of councillors Stephen and Oi Lin Shing, this process has now been started.”

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