Six more public toilets are to close across Brighton and Hove, in proposals shared with councillors today (Wednesday 3 February).
Other toilets are to close at quieter times or have shared attendants as Brighton and Hove City Council tries to cut the £850,000 a year cost of spending a penny.
The proposals recommend closing the toilets in the next financial year, which starts in April. They are in
- The Preston Park Rotunda
- Station Road, Portslade
- Victoria Road, Portslade
- Greenleas, Hangleton
- Park Road, Rottingdean
- The Saltdean Oval
- Officials looked at where the nearest alternative toilets were, councillors were told.
Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn pointed out an error in the official report on the subject and said that the author had been caught short.
Nine other public toilets are expected to close for the winter and some will remain open only at weekends and bank holidays during the winter.
Others will open for fewer hours all year round, share an attendant or have an attendant for fewer hours.
Toilets have been opened at The Level, the Open Market and in the seafront arches close to the i360 and West Pier.
At the arches site a trial to charge people 30p for a pee has proved successful so far, councillors were told. Fees and gates could be installed at other sites.
The changes follow the closure of toilets in The Lanes last April, which saved £40,000 a year, members of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee were told.
In previous years other toilets were closed including those in the car park opposite Hove Town Hall.
The main costs are attendants’ pay, including opening, closing and cleaning the council’s 39 toilets, plus the cost of cleaning materials and utility bills for electricity and water.
The council voted to save £160,000 last year although £120,000 of this was deferred. With £50,000 of extra savings proposed for the coming financial year, officials are looking for cuts totalling £170,000 a year. They are reviewing the Wettons contract which ends in March next year.
A survey of the toilets, many of which are old and in poor repair, indicated a need to spend £1.5 million over the next ten years to bring them up to an acceptable standard.
The proposed closure of the toilets at the Rotunda café in Preston Park attracted some opposition although there are toilets near by at the Chalet café.
Councillor Lee Wares said: “It seems wrong to close toilets that we spent tens of thousands of pounds on only last year.”
The money came from parking charges paid by drivers using Preston Park at the suggestion of residents.
Councillor Wares acknowledged that if the toilets stayed open, more would have to be spent refurbishing them.
He also criticised the cost of the Wettons contract, saying that it would be cheaper for the council to employ its own attendants.
Councillor Peltzer Dunn criticised the proposals as they currently stand, including an error in the report, and said: “You’ve been caught short – and a lot of other people will be as well.
“We have quite an elderly population in some parts of the city. I don’t think the proposals will leave us with a proper provision of service for residents and visitors alike.”
A final decision will be taken at the council’s budget meeting on Thursday 25 February.