Plans to change public conveniences across Arun have taken a step forward.
At a cabinet meeting last night (November 14), councillors agreed to a revised report aimed at reducing the number but improving the standard of facilities.
Councillor Chapman said: “We really want to see some progress. It is not something you can just keep throwing money at willy-nilly.”
The meeting heard from councillor Purchese, who expressed particular concerns about the plans for toilets at Norfolk Gardens, Littlehampton, to change to seasonal opening.
He said: “I have spoken to a number of families and individuals in recent days and weeks who this will impact.
“And they are concerned it is quite a distance to get to alternatives, especially when you have small children or are elderly.”
He added that the proposed timings ‘don’t link with that of the miniature railway or the pitch and put’ but that he did ‘welcome the investigation into local conveniences’.
The report is part of the council’s 2020 Vision and aims to save £4m a year, feasibility work on the project was agreed by full council in January.
This update, presented by officer Oliver Handman, followed a request by cabinet for discussions with town and parish councils.
It found, no parishes or towns were prepared to take on direct responsibility for the ‘assets’, however the latest recommendations ‘in general allow more time’ in order to ‘fully explore alternative options’.
One part of the report’s summary, that parish contributions will be ‘phased out’ from 2018/19 so that ‘parish and town councils will than be able to utilise these funds locally for other initiatives’, caused debate among the councillors.
Councillor Dendle said: “If you look at other districts and boroughs a lot of them don’t provide public conveniences.”
He added that ‘if the town council wanted to fund alternative toilets they are able to do so’ and stated ‘Littlehampton hasn’t paid its contributions in the last two years’.
In contrast, councillor Bence revealed he had received a phonecall that day from Bognor Regis Town Council asked ‘what they should put in their budgets’.
He said: “On behalf of Bognor Regis could we come to a decision in the budget for 17/18 as that is what they are working on now?”
The officer agreed conversations could be had ‘fairly quickly’ to assist.
An addition to the list of facilities being considered is Mewbrook Park, Littlehampton, due to the new leisure centre plans offering ‘an opportunity to incorporate publicly accessible toilets’. The report states the move is supported by the town council and that the final decision will be ‘made at a later date’.
The report will now go to full council.