Harold Place toilets to shut and Hastings council tax to rise two per cent

Ore public toilet protest, Saturday 4th February.
Ore public toilet protest, Saturday 4th February.

The council has voted to close the town centre toilets in Harold Place and increase its share of the council tax by two per cent.

The decision was made at the full council meeting tonight (Wednesday, February 22).

However campaigners fighting to keep the public conveniences in Ore open have won their battle as the council backed a recommendation made by cabinet last week not to close them.

Conservatives on the borough council put forward an amendment to the budget this evening, calling for the town centre toilets in Harold Place to remain open but failed.

Cllr Rob Lee, leader of the Conservative group, said: “I’m very relieved Ore toilets have been saved this year but I find it staggering that with growing visitors in the town we are proposing to take away public conveniences from them.”

Since the proposals to shut the toilets were unveiled, petitions by angry residents were set up, with scores of people signing them.

A demonstration organised by Hastings Ore WI was also held outside the toilets in Ore earlier this month in protest, where around 60 people held placards.

At tonight’s budget meeting, council leader Peter Chowney said the authority’s grant from central government for providing local services had been cut by more than £2m this year.

He said the increase in the borough council’s share of the council tax equated to an extra £5 a year on a Band D property and would raise around £125,000 a year.

He said: “We are making ourselves more efficient, all of which means there is no reduction in services. Putting some of our services online is making £155,000 in savings a year and we generated £94,000 in the last year through use of the town hall.

“Closing a toilet block in an area where there are six others within a 500 metre radius seemed to be a reasonable thing to do when we looked at what savings could be made, bearing in mind we have had a £1.2m reduction in our budget.”

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