Cabinet members voted to end a rural management agreement with Burgess Hill Town Council for the running of the toilets and hiring out of the Pavilion at the Janes Lane recreation ground when they met last Monday (October 15).
The move will swell the district’s coffers by £12,000 per year but will leave the town council out of pocket as it will no longer receive its 50 per cent share of the hiring fees.
A report to cabinet members said that terminating the management agreement would ‘improve the standard of maintenance and overall condition of the public toilets to the benefit of the local community and will preserve a vital community service’.
News of the change was met with ‘considerable concern’ by the town council’s chief executive officer Steven Cridland, who wrote to his opposite number, Kathryn Hall.
In his letter, Mr Cridland said it was ‘inaccurate and misleading’ for the town council to be blamed for ‘maintenance failures’, and ‘wrong’ for the district council to say the overall condition of the public toilets would improve.
The change came just over a month after the district gave the go-ahead for a Changing Places toilet block, for people with profound and multiple disabilities, to be built at the site.
Jonathan Ash-Edwards, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources and economic growth, said: “The Janes Lane Recreation Ground is benefiting from £260,000 of investment to upgrade the play area and provide a new Changing Places toilet.
“It therefore makes sense to update the management arrangements for our pavilion to ensure these facilities can be managed together.”