Calls for toilets at Seven Sisters Country Park to be reopened

A campaigner is calling for the toilets at the Seven Sisters Country Park to be reopened.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 11:02 am
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 11:08 am
The closed toilets at the visitor centre
The closed toilets at the visitor centre

The toilets at Exceat Visitor’s Centre were closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and have now been shut for more than a year.

Vic Ient, the Campaigns Officer for the South Downs Network, said the Cuckmere Valley and the Sisters Country Park were among the most popular tourist locations in Sussex.

He said: “The toilets here have been closed for well over a year now.

Signs for the toilet

“I have previously written to East Sussex County Council asking them to be reopened to no avail.

“On Saturday, I witnessed many people, in a period of a few minutes, approaching the toilet only to find them locked.

“This including a pregnant woman.

“This is ridiculous when toilets at Seaford in the Lewes District as well as in the Eastbourne Borough have been fully open for many months.”

The visitor centre

He added: “This closure in the face of government advice for people to get out and enjoy the health benefits of being in the countryside only brings disrespect for local councils when so many individual officers and councillors are trying their hardest to help people through the Covid situation.”

He said the council is still charging people £4 a day to use the car park – despite the lack of available toilet facilities.

The South Downs Network has now written to the South Downs National Park, who will soon be taking over the Seven Sisters Country Park, asking them to exert pressure on the county council to reopen the toilets.

“Why can’t the County Council contract a cleaner for a few pounds and open the toilets!” Mr Ient said.

The closure notice

East Sussex County Council said it had made ‘the difficult decision’ to keep the toilets closed.

“To reopen the toilets in line with government guidance, we need to arrange for ‘enhanced cleaning’,” a council spokesman said.

“Unfortunately, based on the quotes we have had, and due to the relatively isolated rural location of the toilets, we do not have the budget available to pay for that additional cleaning.

“We have therefore made the difficult decision to keep the toilets closed, and we have displayed that information at the toilet facility and on our website.

“A great deal of work goes into maintaining all 280 hectares of the Seven Sisters Country Park on a limited budget.

“The money from the car park helps to support that work.”

“We will very shortly be transferring the freehold ownership of Seven Sisters Country Park to the South Downs National Park Authority.

“The SDNPA will be investing around £1.4m into Seven Sisters which will go into improving visitor experience and facilities and ecological management.

“We understand that the reopening of the toilets is a high priority for the SDNPA.”