When will public toilets be reinstated. It is simply not good enough that these facilities are not available in all necessary places. The Mount Street car park in Battle and Sedlescombe car park in particular need these vital services. It is embarrassing that the many visitors to our locality are denied such basic services.
Thank you for your correspondence in which you expressed your concerns regarding the trial closure of some of our public toilets. We appreciate the time you have taken to give us your much valued feedback and we understand that the trial closures will cause concern for some of our residents and visitors. Like many Councils, Rother District Council is facing significant financial challenges and is currently exploring options to help close the current £3.8 million funding gap, including reviewing our discretionary services and whether these can be managed more sustainably.
We are still offering this discretionary public convenience service across the district but in a reduced number of facilities. We do not wish to close toilets but sadly we need to balance the costs of running this non statutory service alongside other statutory services such as Waste and street cleansing, temporary housing accommodation and environmental health services, to mention but a few.
During the past 18 months, RDC has been working with colleagues at Town and Parish Council level to facilitate public toilet provision being managed at a local level for the communities they serve. To date progress has been slow but RDC will continue to explore this option as vigorously as possible, but it is now necessary to introduce changes. Many of our toilet facilities are aging, and some buildings are no longer fit for purpose. We have also seen an increase in the number of vandalism incidents, which are often costly to repair. Contractor costs, equipment and materials prices, and the cost of replacing damaged or worn-out items continues to increase and as such, Rother District Council can no longer maintain the service in its present form.
We have maintained a service in each town, Battle, Rye and Bexhill. It is positive news that some town councils are progressing with taking on the operation of some of the closed facilities but this will take time to implement.
Details of the toilets impacted by the trial can be found on our website: Public toilets to close on a trial basis over the winter months – Rother District Council
We have put together some answers to frequently asked questions regarding the trial closures which can be found here: Public Toilet Trial Closure FAQ’s – Rother District Council
We would like to encourage those impacted by these changes to take part in our 2024-25 budget consultation where you can have your say and propose alternatives: 2024/25 Budget Consultation – Financial Challenges Ahead – Rother District Council
The feedback from the budget consultation, including the closure of certain toilets, will be reviewed as a whole, and the outworking’s will be considered by Cllrs during January and February 2024, followed by recommendations regarding any changes to those that are currently closed.
I hope this goes some way to answering your questions. Once again, we would like to thank you for your comments and feedback which will be kept on file as part of the consultation.