Town council aims to install new public toilets in Hailsham town centre

Hailsham Town Council is working with Wealden District Council on a project to install a new public toilet and Changing Places facility in the town centre, subject to planning permission.
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The decision, reached by members at the latest meeting of Full Council held on Wednesday [13 September], means that, subject to planning consent and any other necessary permissions, two modular toilets and a Changing Places disabled toilet facility could be installed next year on the site of the old public toilet in Vicarage Field which is currently occupied by bike racks.

Hailsham Town Council agreed to the installation of a Changing Places disabled toilet in January 2022, facilities which are designed in a way so that they are completely accessible and provide sufficient space and equipment for people with multiple and complex disabilities, or who are not able to use a toilet independently.

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The Town Council's agreement to install and maintain such a facility was made subject to agreeing a suitable location and will be funded from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), amidst a high-profile national campaign over the past few years to increase the numbers of these specialist toilet facilities.

Former public toilets in North Street, HailshamFormer public toilets in North Street, Hailsham
Former public toilets in North Street, Hailsham

The green light for the Vicarage Field public toilet installation project comes as good news for residents and visitors to the town, considering the recent decision by the Town Council to terminate the lease on the former Cortlandt stable block building in North Street, which will close to the public soon.

Despite the forthcoming closure of the North Street toilet facilities, the Town Council is providing information regarding Wealden District Council's Community Toilet Scheme, an initiative in place whereby members of the public can access toilet facilities at the following business premises (during opening hours):

  • Wealden District Council Offices, Vicarage Lane
  • Freedom Leisure Centre, Vicarage Lane
  • Waitrose, Vicarage Field
  • Callenders Restaurant, 80/82 High Street
  • Costa Coffee, 26B High Street

Additionally, there is a disabled toilet facility located in St Mary's Walk (off the high street), which is accessible with a RADAR key.

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"Hailsham Town Council acknowledges the importance of public toilet availability," said Cllr Mary Laxton, Chair of the Assets Management Committee. "For over 10 years, the Town Council has maintained the facility in North Street in addition to meeting the costs of the lease of the building each year, of which residents and visitors have appreciated."

"Despite the decision to close the North Street facilities, the decision recently reached by the Town Council to go ahead with the project to install two modular public toilets and a Changing Places facility in the town centre, is excellent news all round!"

"Add to that, there are several facilities already available to the public in Hailsham, many of which are fully accessible. The Community Toilet Scheme operated by Wealden District Council allows members of the public to use the toilet facilities in a range of approved local businesses and other organisations during their opening hours."

Cllr Laxton added: "The upcoming town centre toilet installation project is, however, subject to a number of permissions over the course of the next few months, but we have at least moved one step closer by agreeing to have the facilities installed and to maintain them thereafter."

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"Regarding the Changing Places facility in particular, it's been a challenging task from the outset to agree a location and associated management plan, but we've finally got there. Inclusion, equality and dignity are values taken seriously by the Town Council in representing the residents in our community.

"My co-members and I were keen to understand how we could best help those with complex disabilities, and it is wonderful that we have been able to work together to agree the delivery of a Changing Places facility that will benefit the local community."

"The next steps, including procurement and the obtaining of planning permission, are crucial and required in a timely manner."