Time to listen to public’s views

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Cllr Michael J Edwards, Conservative councillor, Ashdown Ward

It would appear, judging by the furious correspondence in your newspaper, that the good citizens of Hastings have been thoroughly enraged by the cruel, mean and unnecessary closure of the Harold Place public toilets in the town centre.

The Labour-controlled council at first proposed the closure of the Ore public toilets as well but following pressure from their own councillors with an eye on the upcoming county elections in May, they withdrew the plan and now claim this to be a victory.

The Harold Place closure was, however, confirmed at the Budget Meeting on February 22 to save an estimated £64k - it’s hard to understand how they spend £1,200 per week on that facility.

The council leader Cllr Chowney, declared there are six other toilet facilities within 500 meters of Harold Place - yes maybe, but some of these are in privately owned shops such as Debenhams who have a responsibility towards their customers and not the general public, and anyway that could be a long walk for the elderly and infirm when nature calls.

Also some of the alternative facilities involve using steps which can be an obstacle to the disabled.

At the Budget Meeting the Conservative group of councillors put forward amendments containing some carefully calculated proposals which would have avoided the closure of the toilets. The Labour majority brushed them aside with their customary lack of imagination.

We, as Conservatives, regard the provision of such a basic facility as a fundamental responsibility of the council and not one that can be passed on to shops, pubs and cafes in the town centre.

The Labour-controlled council spends substantial sums on vanity projects across the town while ignoring the basic essentials. Now is the time to reconsider priorities and listen to the views of the man and woman in the street.

If they don’t listen, the Borough Council elections in 2018 will be payback time.

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