Our independent columnist Observer suggests how Uckfield can make it much easier for visitors and shoppers to spend a penny when in the town centre.
News that Wealden District Council is seeking planning permission to demolish the old toilet block on the Luxford Field car park came as no surprise.
The district council – like authorities up and down Britain – are under financial pressure and one of the consequences is that public loos have closed and will continue to close.
It’s a service councils can provide but not one they have to.
The toilets at the River Uck bridge were said at the time of their closure to cost £1 for every person who had a pee there.
High Street improvements
No wonder they were closed and you cannot blame Uckfield Town Council for saying we cannot afford to take on the toilets at the Luxford car park.
Some may find it strange that “the council” can spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on High Street improvements but cannot afford to keep open public loos.
Different councils…different money.
The High Street money came from the construction of houses at Ridgewood as a “roof tax” on each property.
Community toilet scheme
It was specifically for town centre road improvements – not loos – and could not legally be diverted to any other use.
Public lavatories are clearly on the way out but Wealden sensibly has in place across the district a community toilet scheme.
It pays relatively small sums of money to shops and other premises to make their lavatories available to anyone who wishes to use them.
One great flaw
In theory, a great scheme but it has one great flaw.
Do you know which premises are part of the community toilet scheme in Uckfield?
I bet only a handful of you will say yes and be able to list them.
I only know because I looked them up on the Wealden District Council website while penning this piece.
The last time the loos issue was raised in Uckfield, small notices were attached to lampposts in the town.
That’s not good enough.
Get the publicity right
Let’s have some proper posters at the bus station, at the rail station and at the town’s car parks.
And, most importantly of all, can Wealden supply notices to those taking part in the scheme to display prominently in their shop doors etc or in the windows.
It’s not rocket science.
In reality Uckfield could have plenty of loos available to the public. We just need to tell people where they are.
Wealden and town council need to commit to make the community toilet scheme work.
It needs properly publicising and more effort put into to increasing the number of businesses offering toilet facilities.
I would urge more businesses in the town centre to come forward and join the scheme. Details here
Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory