Bexhill public toilets to remain closed 'until next March' as more than 1,800 sign petition in protest
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Last month, Rother District Council (RDC) announced that a number of public toilets in Bexhill, Rye and Sedlescombe would shut from November 13 over the winter on a trial basis in order to save money and cut costs.
The move was condemned, with Andrew Crotty and Stephen Pariser launching a petition in protest.
It was signed by more than 1,800 people in protest and was handed to the council today (Tuesday, November 28).
Andrew said: “We only started this petition last week and we have 1,805 signatures so far. I have been standing outside Devonshire Square toilets and the majority of people are disgusted with Rother. They think it’s very short-sighted.
“A lady told me a man urinated against the wall because he was busting to go to the toilet. I have heard other stories saying people are defecating by the toilets because they have gone there to find the toilets are locked.
“This is a health and safety nightmare and Rother are just turning a blind eye. People are saying this is killing the town and people won;t come here.”
An online petition against the closures has also been set up, which is at www.change.org/p/reopen-rother-district-council-public-toilets-for-human-rights, and has been signed by more than 400 people so far.
Council bosses said they made the decision because the authority faces a £3.8 million pound shortfall in its budget for 2024/25.
It said over the last 18 months, the council has been in negotiations to see if the provision of public toilets could be devolved to town or parish councils. It said while there have been some very positive discussions, no firm decisions have been made.
Cllr Doug Oliver, council leader, said: “I still firmly believe that the town council wants the same outcome as the district council in respect of Bexhill’s public toilets and I’m confident that we can work together to reach an agreement. As it stands, the toilets will remain closed over the winter period to enable us to focus our limited resources on protecting vital services.
“The town council has already raised £150,000 from local taxpayers to run the service in 2023/24, the district council has offered £218,000 of community infrastructure funding to support renovation works, and on top of that we’ve offered 99-125-year leases in line with toilet services already successfully devolved to other parishes.
“I know that the town council wants the deal to include the transfer of buildings, but we have a duty to council taxpayers to get the best value for them - a fact now even more important as we face a budget shortfall next year of £3.8 million.”
The toilets that shut from November 13 for the winter are as follows:
Bexhill Cooden Sea Road
Bexhill Devonshire Square
Bexhill Little Common Roundabout
Bexhill Manor Gardens
Bexhill Normans Bay
Bexhill Polegrove Bowls
Little Common Recreation Ground (Made available only for sports fixtures by prior agreement)
Polegrove Grandstand (Made available only for sports fixtures by prior agreement)
Battle Mount Street
Rye Strand Quay
Rye Gun Gardens