Call for more consultation over toilet closure proposals

Public toilets, like the facility in North Street, Wick, could be closed  but councillors want more information
Public toilets, like the facility in North Street, Wick, could be closed  but councillors want more information
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Councillors called for more information and consultation over recommendations to close a series of public toilets across Arun.

The proposals, among the first of Arun District Council’s projects to save up to £4million by 2020, received a lukewarm reception on Tuesday as a working group called out ‘inaccuracies’ and ‘anomalies’ in the plans.

The group urged cabinet members, who will discuss the issue next month, to undertake consultation and fully cost alternative ways of keeping toilets open.

Councillor Paul English said: “We are not against the proven need to close toilets as long as it is proven.

“We know it is not a legal requirement to provide these things but to the public they see it as a moral need in our area.”

Councillors were urged to endorse seasonal or full closures in areas including Ferring, Wick and Climping, prioritising ‘key sites’ for investment.

Negotiations would take place with parish councils in affected areas to see if they wanted to take over.

Philippa Dart, assistant director for environmental services, said it was a ‘win-win’ to close under-used facilities and bring others up to standard, including installing disabled facilities.

But the group said there was not enough information, including individual costings and usage figures, for parishes to make an informed decision.

Cabinet member for leisure and amenities Paul Dendle initially said councillors struggled to take tough decisions when they arose. But he supported an amendment by Liberal Democrat councillor Dr James Walsh in calling for more information.

A recommendation to give Rustington Parish Council 12 months’ notice of withdrawal of Arun’s £6,700 contribution towards its conveniences was deleted.

Cabinet members will now decide whether to back the working group’s call at its next meeting.