Full details of proposals to close numerous public toilets across Arun have been revealed this morning (Wednesday, June 15).
An Arun District Council working group will debate the closure of nine public conveniences, while five others could be limited to seasonal opening.
The proposals, to be discussed on June 28, are part of Arun’s drive to save up to £4million by 2020.
The authority warned the five-year cost to maintain all current facilities was an estimated £1.6million –but public satisfaction in the facilities ranks at just 34 per cent.
Liberal Democrat leader Francis Oppler criticised the plans. He said: “It really is hammering probably one of the most vital services that Arun provide.
“It might not be statutory but it is a vital service.”
Toilets planned for closure across Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and surrounding areas could be taken over by parish councils.
Investment in the remaining toilets, including construction of a new £200,000 above-ground facility in The Esplanade, in Bognor Regis, is planned.
Cabinet member for leisure and amenities Paul Dendle has written to the councils to inform them of the plans.
A final decision will be taken by cabinet members in July, following the working group’s discussion.
Mr Dendle said: “Although the provision of public toilets is not a statutory service, Arun District Council recognises the importance of these facilities and is committed to improving the quality and retaining free to use toilets in key areas.
“In order to ensure that available funding is spent where it is most needed, we will need to close some public toilets but we believe we have public support for doing this and it will allow us to significantly raise the standard at the most-used facilities.
“In areas where Arun District Council is unable to prioritise public toilets, we hope to meet with the relevant town or parish council to discuss whether they would be prepared to secure this provision for the future.”
Existing conveniences were ranked on a scoring matrix, which included proximity to a Blue Flag beach, visitor attractions, open spaces and transport links.
Fire-damaged toilets in North Street, Wick, ranked lowest, receiving a score of three out of 12 because of its poor condition and repeated incidents of vandalism. The report noted antisocial behaviour was a wider issue, with officers noting ‘homosexual activity’ as a problem.
Mr Oppler challenged the results of the scoring system, adding he was ‘utterly appalled’ by plans to close toilets in London Road, Bognor, which he said were heavily used.
See below for a full list of closures and changes.
Blakes/Culver Road, Felpham
West Beach, Climping
Sandy Road, Pagham
Norfolk Gardens, Littlehampton
Restricted opening in association with sports pitch booking
West Meads, Aldwick
Commercial development with retention of reduced toilet facilities
Crown Yard, Arundel
Closure or transfer to town/parish councils
The Esplanade, Bognor (closure)
Waterloo Square, Bognor (closure)
London Road, Bognor (closure)
Snooks Corner, Felpham
Shrubbs Field, Middleton
Ferring Street, Ferring
Ferring Rife, Ferring
North Street, Wick
Avisford Park, Aldwick
New facility in Esplanade, Bognor
Additional site-based cleaner for Bognor conveniences
Extending working period of site-based cleaners for Bognor, Littlehampton and Arundel
Greater requiremens for cleaning, including ‘deep cleans’
Contractual requirement for minor repairs