Relief over public toilets as Greens rethink closures

Posted On 01 Feb 2023 at 10:39 pm

A rethink looks like saving public toilets from closure as Brighton and Hove City Council published its latest budget proposals this evening (Wednesday 1 February).

The Greens said that it was one of several tough choices foisted on the council by “Tory-imposed cuts” but offered some relief, having listened to residents. Some toilets that were closed could reopen.

The party said: “Since the first draft (of the budget) was published in December, Green councillors have met with countless residents, employees and stakeholders to hear feedback and ideas on how to navigate this no-win scenario.

“Vital public services will continue to be funded. For example, public toilets will not be cut.

“High-footfall locations will stay open and sites that were already closed are being reviewed for reopening as we also do work to make toilets in cafés and other contexts accessible to the public.

“Councillors stress that while there will be some points of relief, there will be many more points of hurt.

“They note that work will continue with trade unions to completely remove the need for job losses but that these may yet be unavoidable.

“There are reductions in service, both now and in the future, and call on the city to prepare for tough days ahead.”

The latest budget proposals also offer a reprieve – at least for the time being – for the Bright Start nursery in Brighton.

The proposed closure was expected to save £104,000 a year but would cost 15 staff their jobs.

Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “The reality of this budget is grim. While we are confident that this is the best possible budget in these conditions, we want to be upfront that this is not good news for many.

“We have put a lot of work into improving the situation as much as we can but we know this Tory-rigged budget will still cause a lot of pain across the city.

“What we are putting forward ensures that the hardships it causes are kept to a minimum.”

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

Councillor Mac Cafferty added: “We continue to prioritise services for the city’s most marginalised communities by distributing cuts across different services and finding new ways of providing council services.

“We will also continue to lobby government with the loudest voices for the funding we know Brighton and Hove needs and deserves.

“I am proud that Green councillors, even in the most trying times, lead with principles and compassion.

“I call on every councillor on Brighton and Hove City Council to join with us making decisions based on what is best for our residents, local businesses, council staff and visitors.”

Protesters held a demo in St Ann’s Well Gardens – just one of the parks that had been due to be affected by public toilet closures

The Greens said: “The government legally requires local authorities to present a balanced budget and imposes severe consequences on authorities that fail to do so.

“The proposals published today will go to a meeting of senior councillors next week before going to a meeting of all 54 councillors later this month.”

The first meeting – of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee – is due to take place on Thursday 9 February.

The annual budget council meeting is due to take place a fortnight later on Thursday 23 February.

All 54 councillors are expected to set a legal budget for the coming financial year, starting in April, as well as setting the council tax which is expected to go up 4.99 per cent.

  1. Chris Reply

    Pushed by self inflicted injury more like

  2. Soph Reply

    I manage my own budget very carefully, but you don’t, and you just demand more money. Bins still not collected, by the way. What am I paying for that I benefit from? Not much, as far as I can see. I have already given up enough, so I can pay my essential bills. Do not put the Council Tax up again.

    • Hector John Ktorides Reply

      Oh but they will by 4.9%

    • Car Delenda Est Reply

      Yes tell them to pay for it without any money, good idea

      • mart Burt Reply

        Car Delenda Est
        Hmmm, Millions put into Hove project, LTN, VG3, A259 (Two schemes), complaining of self inflicted parking revenue.
        Leave you to work it out.

  3. Susie Reply

    Toilet Gr££ns are just pausing it as the local elections are approaching.

  4. Mark Reply

    £104,000, 15 staff, they don’t even pay minimum wage?

    • Benjamin Reply

      No sir, they CLEARLY mean £104,000 saved from the closure of the toilets, and additional money saved by making 15 staff redundant. That’s not difficult to work out, Mark.

  5. Joe Stains Reply

    Toilets; a dirty word and a dirty thing, but we need them like we have needed them before…

  6. Car Delenda Est Reply

    If government won’t properly fund the council then council tax must go up, it’s better than cutting toilets and nurseries.

    • Chris Reply

      Meanwhile the greens slash parking income and spend money on destroying infrastructure.

    • Jess Reply

      The government has made big reductions in one funding stream for councils, the Revenue Support Grant, but there are many other funding streams, which the council benefits from. The council tax increase is, in reality, capped. The fact that so many other councils face the same funding challenges yet still manage to keep public toilets open and clean well maintained undermines your argument and highlights the Greens’ repeated disregard for the frail, the vulnerable, the elderly and disabled. These are real people, not political footballs to be kicked repeatedly.

    • mart Burt Reply

      Car Delenda Est
      Some people really need to go for walk and clear their heads.

      The Green leadership as do some of their butt licking supporters, quite correctly tell us of so call ‘Shortfalls’, the correct term in budgets not the misquoted ‘Cuts’. They also repeatedly inform us this has been going on for 10 years.
      Knowing there are shortfalls in budgets, knowing we’ve had two years of covid even the thickest of people will understand finances would be additionally tight.
      Most people with brains cells will BUDGET better and spend on essentials, yet these thick, incompetent morons spend money on vanity projects, remove a major source of income (Parking) then stamp their feet finger pointing deflecting the blame elsewhere.

  7. Hendrik Reply

    Yes, election time is coming soon, so panic sets in. Let us not be fooled by this u-turn. If, heaven forbid, the Greens get back in again, it won’t be long before they find some excuse (usually blaming the government, of course) to have another go at closures of toilets. A “relief” yes, but a temporary one, no doubt.
    And meanwhile, lack of funding has not prevented them from making the alterations to Western Road, hardly as urgent as keeping the public toilets open. How much is that going to cost ratepayers?
    And how much is it costing them to run Hove Town Hall, with no staff working there?

  8. Anne Reply

    I think when they make Council staff redundant, the council should consider letting their staff take early retirement. “Early retirement from age 55 or above on efficiency or redundancy”, if they don’t then the impact may be worse such as, impact to the individual and impact to the local benefits system. This was it may decrease the blow, sadly not for much for the human cost.

    • Benjamin Reply

      Early retirement might be a really good solution for people to be fair, I wonder how that would work…I wonder if it is something they could explore?

  9. Rostrum Reply

    The ‘council’ need to look at our near neighbours Eastborne and Worthing. They seem to have little issue with running public services and their toilets are open, clean and free!

    • Benjamin Reply

      Eastbourne and Worthing’s demographics and structure and requirements are also completely different from Brighton, making them not really that good to copy from.

      • Rostrum Reply

        Or maybe they’re just better at setting their budget priorities.

      • Soph Reply

        Benjamin, I find your comment slightly chilling. I would love to know more about our differences here in Brighton & Hove… Do we not pee? Do we never age? What if we don’t fit the council’s ideal demographic? Should I try and leave now? — From where I’m standing, it looks like the council has a very rigid idea of what Brighton ‘should’ be like, rather than meeting the needs of the people who are here, now.

      • mart Burt Reply

        Eastbourne and Worthing’s demographics ?
        Yep there’s LESS people in these area’s meaning Brighton requires better facilities for all those millions of visitors and residents RIGHT ?

        So the structure of these two areas means they need toilets more than Brighton?

        And requirements are also completely different from Brighton?

        Okay so people in Eastbourne and Worthing only need toilets and nobody else on the planet does.

        No they are a great example.

        With less revenue that our city, but with the same difficulties, they are a prime example of proper management.

  10. TIBS Reply

    what does the Greens actually stand for, they represent a small fraction of the overall electorate but their policies impact so many. Closing toilets, daft education policies that prejudice people, not collecting rubbish, broken pavements, dodgy bus gates that are a conning people out of hard earned cash, softly softly policies on aggressive begging – the list is endless.

  11. TIBS Reply

    why can’t we have a ‘green’ minded party that actually has sensible ideas that appeal to all – rather than wanting to be seen as raging war on this type of person, that type of driver, this type of voter… I’m totally bored with today’s politics of division.

    • Benjamin Reply

      I think the concept of an idea that appeals to all is a pipe dream, personally. There is always someone who doesn’t like an idea. Finding that balance of addressing as many concerns as reasonably possible, that’s the tricky part.

      • Soph Reply

        Yes, but there are *universal* needs that must be met, Benjamin. Basic essentials like toilets and rubbish collection must be maintained, otherwise the council is failing in its duty. Asking cafés to allow the public to use their toilets is no guarantee they will be available/open when needed. The toilets fiasco impacts especially on women, young families, the elderly, those with particular health needs. We’ll end up staying home (or going elsewhere if we can). The council’s actions are making this city even harder to live in for many people.

      • mart Burt Reply

        In life you will find a few people that do not like a particular theme.
        The saying goes, ‘You can not please everybody all of the time, but you can please most of the people most of the time’.
        BHCC apparently think, ‘You can please few people most of the time but you can’t please most of the people at any time.’

  12. Anni.M Reply

    Good that toilets won’t be closing. Now bring back the necessary bus shelter outside Royal Sussex Eye Hospital.

    • Benjamin Reply

      I believe that’s already in the pipeline Anni, the ward councillors have been working on that one.

      • Anni.M Reply

        Thank You Benjamin that is a good news.

    • Tony Reply

      Yipee that’s back in place now – and a new one on the eastbound side

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