News Posted in Community, Council, Council cuts, News.

Loos’ closure moves nearer

PUBLIC toilets in Aldwick are one decision away from being axed. Parish councillors reluctantly agreed to refuse to fund the loos at Avisford Park recreation ground and West Meads.


Their decision is being sent to Arun District Council to deliver the final verdict on the conveniences’ future. This is likely to be made in early November.


But Arun has already stated it is ready to see the Avisford Park site close completely and West Meads only opened to the public when sports events are held on the adjoining playing field.


Parish councillor Molly Myers said at Monday’s meeting it should be made clear to residents the final decision about the loos was down to Arun. “This issue has been fully discussed and, regretfully, Aldwick Parish Council agree that the decision rests with Arun and the parish council can’t commit any extra taxpayers’ funds to pay extra costs.


“The toilets belong to Arun and they are built on Arun land,” she said. “Every year since the Nineties, the parish council have co-operated with Arun with our council taxpayers’ paying extra funding to keep the public toilets in the Aldwick area open.”


The parish council has given £7,300 to Arun every year for about 20 years towards the upkeep of the three sets of loos in Aldwick. But figures from the district council show it would cost the parish council £14,179 a year to take over the West Meads site and £13,732 for Avisford Park.


A further £48,500 is believed to be needed for major work at Avisford Park in the next five years and £29,750 at West Meads. West Meads Residents’ Association had urged the parish council to support the toilets in its area. As reported, it is feared their closure could lead to people relieving themselves in nearby bushes.


Cllr Myers said: “We can’t make an exception for West Meads as opposed to Avisford Park. They are both in our area.” the formal response about the matter from the parish council states: “The impact to Aldwick taxpayers could mean a potential 40% rise in the precept and possibly lead to a referendum increasing costs further.”


Cllr Lillian Richardson, the parish council’s chairman, said its members believed they had been given too little time before next Friday’s deadline to consider such an important matter. Vice-chairman Cllr Michael Warden said Arun’s figures were too broad on which to base a takeover of the toilets. “Further investigation into the figures should be done by Arun and proper consultation before they think about closing them,” he said.


Cllr Ron Smith said the parish council would have to employ a person to look after the toilets to send the potential cost soaring. But Arun councillor Phil Hitchins (C, Aldwick West) said the parish council had been wrong to make its decision without seeking talks with Arun. “I am very disappointed as regards West Meads. I would have thought this council would have gone back to Arun and ask to discuss how much it would cost to keep them open all the time.


“There has been no attempt to go back to Arun and ask ‘what if, what if, what if’. “There are three different choices: shutting, opening part time and opening full time.” he said. The other Aldwick toilets at West Park will stay open.

Posted in Community, Council, Council cuts, News.