Council must be wary about taking on the Uckfield public lavatories, says Observer

Independent columnist Observer warns Uckfield Town Council over the dangers of taking over the provision of public lavatories in the town, welcomes Harveys to a Ridgewood pub and wonders if Santa will be able to park the sleigh at the new station car park.

The town council taking over the closed public lavatories in Uckfield looks, on the face of it, a good idea.

It is certainly worth the investigation, which is being proposed.

However, the town council should be wary about tackling a job which rightly is the function of another local authority.

The provision of public lavatories is the job of Wealden District Council. It decided to close the loos and set up the community toilet scheme, which is so poorly advertised within the town centre.

Now, if the toilets return it will be at the expense of taxpayers in Uckfield alone. Previously, the bill was spread across all the council taxpayers and provided toilets in major towns and large villages.

That is a fair way of going about providing this service.

If Wealden is not prepared to do the job, the town council should ensure the running of the toilets is not a cost to the council taxpayer. That means a sensible charge will be necessary; maybe 50p or even £1.

After all, it was once said the now closed toilets next to the river cost Wealden council £1 for every time they were used.

Town council ‘bottom of food chain’

East Sussex County Council also seems not averse to passing down the “food chain” some services which are its responsibility.

I keep hearing talk of services such as pothole repairs, street lights and other such services being off-loaded to another council.

Uckfield Town Council is the bottom of the food chain.

When considering what to do about the town centre lavatories it should concentrate on the bigger picture.

They must understand the signal they send if they take on the provision of lavatories and where that might end.

It might be popular to re-open the loos but will they be popular when council tax soars.

Why not merge all the councils?

Uckfield town has one of the highest council tax figures in the district.

My mate in the Dog and Duck reckons there are too many levels of local government and that one tier would do just fine for East Sussex with advisory (no spending powers) councils in villages and town wards.

I am coming round to the opinion that he is not far wrong.

ANOTHER week and the Network Rail car park is not open. Odds anyone for it being in use by Christmas.

HARVEYS in the Brickies; now you’re talking. There’s nothing wrong with Badger, except that it is not Harveys.

See also:

MP visits leading Uckfield company

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