Threatened Lewes loos win new status

Ruth O'Keeffe
Ruth O'Keeffe

The battle to save public loos in Lewes from closure made significant progress this week.

The Western Road lavatories have been added to Lewes District Council’s list of Assets of Community Value.

It follows a registration request from Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe in her capacity as Chair of Lewes Little Gardens and means the council, as owner of the loos, must inform Lewes Little Gardens of any intention to make a “relevant disposal” - to sell the site or close the facility and redevelop.

Lewes Little Gardens would then have six weeks to let the council know whether it wished to be treated as a potential bidder for the asset, and if so would have six months to raise finance, during which no redevelopment could take place.

Cllr O’Keeffe said: “The good news that my bid for registration of the toilets as an Asset of Community Value has succeeded is another small step towards making sure that they are not lost as an amenity, and I very much welcome the additional protection from redevelopment that this registration gives them.”

Fellow campaigner Cllr Stephen Catlin said: “It’s not the end of what we’re trying to achieve but it might be the beginning of the end.

“The struggle will not be complete until this facility is fully operational again – and it must be available to the public on Bonfire Night.”

A petition now has more than half the 1,500 signatures needed to get a debate by the council in October.