No dishonour in delaying closure
From: Stanley C Mounsey, The Uplands, St Leonards
Although there have been overwhelming expressions of concerns expressed through the columns of this paper, sadly and worryingly these seemed have been ignored or remain unanswered.
In my opinion there are just too many questions which if not addressed, before the toilets are closed, the consequences will be serious and in the long run could be counter productive. In short, as is often the case, the ‘Devil will be in the detail’.
We need to know what contract, if any, will be in place between HBC detailing the responsibilities of the managers of the private sector facilities, such as Debenhams. For example, what hours will these facilities be open, in the evenings and weekends? Will there be any restrictions?
Further, who will be responsible, for the extra capital costs (extra cubicles) that may be needed with the increased use? Also who will be responsible for cleaning and maintenance, even damage by vandalism? Has this been documented? Are their other hidden costs and if so, has a budget been set aside to cover such contingencies, and how much?
There is also strong anecdotal evidence that even the Harold Road Toilets are often crowded with queues forming, especially where children and families are present. In Marks and Spencers, the toilet facilities there are limited and restrictions exist covering access. There are often queues especially in busy shopping times.
Will disability toilets be accessed by Radar keys?
The new locations must be clearly marked, especially for visitors . Some of these are quite a distance away and finding these may even a problem for locals, though I am sure most tourists will be challenged, especially if their bilingual skills are limited. For parents with young children and the disabled, even a relatively short distance to walk can be very demanding.
I commend to your readers the very thoughtful comments submitted last week by Mark Hutchison and Josie Lawson, especially related to the implications around busy public events now occurring in the town centre; eg. the Thursday town centre market.
I echo their comments and urge the council to rethink the plan to immediately close the town centre toilets, until these worrying questions have been fully addressed .
There is no dishonour in acknowledging these doubts and delaying closure pending further examination of the unintended consequences posed by such questions; it might be also worth while publishing the Conservative Party members’ amendments “calculated to avoid closure”.
Finally, has any consideration be given to phasing in the closure until the public is become familiar with the new locations and to give time for HBC to implement adjustments that are bound to surface in the light of daily experience?
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