Reaction over toilets’ review in Chichester

A group representing people with bowel disorders has said public toilets in Chichester should remain open.

Chairman of the Chichester branch of Crohns and Colitis UK, Diane Lavender, said many people depended on such facilities.

“I would say they just can’t close these toilets. It’s not just IBD sufferers; you have other people, the elderly who need the loo often, and children. What do you do with a child? They don’t give you much warning they need the loo – it’s a case of ‘I need the loo now, mummy’.

“What do you do if there isn’t one?

“People with bowel disease need to be able to know they can use one. They can’t afford to be somewhere where there isn’t a place to go to the loo.

“I wouldn’t mind paying 20p to go to a toilet and find it clean and know that nobody has been in there and vandalised it.”

Last week the Observer reported CDC had come up with five options as part of their review. The first is to close 13 sites across the district, including Avenue de Chartres, Priory Park and Northgate, while the second was to start charging 20p per visit.

There was also an idea for a partnership toilet scheme where the council could work with businesses prepared to let members of the public use their facilities for an annual fee, but there was no enthusiasm for this.

The fourth option was for limited closures, with responsibility for some passed to others.

A final option was selling advertising space on internal or external walls, but this was not expected to produce significant income.

Among the facilities earmarked for possible closure are the harbourside toilets at West Itchenor.

Parish council chairman Michael Chater said he was surprised and disappointed about the idea.

“It was understood they were secure for the next financial year. We would have expected to be kept informed if there was any change in the recommendation given by CDC for such continued provision.

“There had been strong recognition of the importance of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy- and CDC-run toilet facility for the benefit of boat users and tourists.

“Whilst the parish council enjoyed no income from the harbourside facilities and parking charges, it had provided a modest contribution in community support of maintenance of the toilets in this high tourist area.”