Lewes toilet petition reaches target

Cllr Stephen Catlin and Jackie Bishop handing over petition
Cllr Stephen Catlin and Jackie Bishop handing over petition

A petition calling for the reopening of public loos in Western Road, Lewes, has been signed by more than 1,500 people.

It was handed to the chair of Lewes District Council by campaigners who said the facility was much needed and used by visitors and residents.

But the district council said it was reviewing many premises and areas of land that it owned with the aim of realising “greater community benefits from these assets”, such as affordable housing.

The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, call upon Lewes District Council to re-open and maintain the public toilets on Western Road as they are a much appreciated and needed public facility used both by local residents and visitors to the town.

“They are an asset both to local council tax payers and to tourists, who contribute to the economic well- being of the town.”

The petition was presented to district council chair Tony Nicholson on Wednesday October 15.

Reaching 1,500 signatures means it will have to be debated by the district council’s full council meeting.

It was organised by cllrs Stephen Catlin and Ruth O’Keeffe who were helped in their collection of signatures by Jackie Bishop from St Anne’s Church in Lewes.

A spokesperson for the district council said: “Lewes District Council is reviewing many premises and areas of land that it owns with the aim of realising greater community benefits from these assets, such as the delivery of much needed affordable housing.

“The council acknowledges that the Western Road toilets are on the Community Right to Bid register and should we wish to redevelop or dispose of the premises in the future, the organisation which applied for the registration will have an opportunity to prepare a bid to purchase the toilets themselves.

“However, the council will be under no obligation to accept this bid.”

Cllr O’Keeffe, who has registered the Western Road toilets as an asset of community value and is also chair of the Lewes Little Gardens, said: “Now that the toilets are registered as an asset of community value we would have a six month period following notification that the district council wished to close and sell the building or redevelop the site to try to put together a community bid to save them.

“Hopefully this will not be necessary but we will be ready if it does happen.”

“Lewes Little Gardens was keen to be part of the campaign because its central aim is “to increase civic pride and enjoyment in the streetscape of Lewes”.