Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Closed toilet among the beach huts in West St Leonards (photo: Cllr Rob Lee).

Vandals target public toilets

Just a few days after reopening public toilets, several have been vandalised, the council says. It is also just a few days since Conservative councillor Rob Lee criticised the council for being slow to reopen toilets. Nick Terdre reports.

Five public toilets owned by Hastings Borough Council were vandalised last weekend, just a few days after they had been reopened. The vandalism included extensive graffiti and damage to pipework, cisterns and toilet pans, which has led to some facilities needing to be closed again for repairs, the council said.

Toilet bowl damaged by vandals (photo: HBC).

“We recently opened as many public toilet facilities as we felt we were able to manage safely,” said Cllr Paul Barnett, the lead for urban environment and community safety. “Unfortunately, over the weekend, half of the toilets that we opened were either vandalised or misused, with some now needing significant repair work.”

He called on anyone with information to let the council know.

The council’s reluctance to reopen public toilets, initially attributed to a desire to deter visitors from coming to Hastings during lockdown, has come in for criticism from Cllr Rob Lee, leader of the Conservative group.

“As the rest of the country is busy opening up facilities and helping businesses open their doors, Hastings has failed to do so,” he said last Friday. “It has taken an age to open up even a few of the toilets in the borough and many remain closed with seemingly no date for them to reopen.”

Pelham Place toilets – open.


He accused the council leadership of bungling their handling of the crisis and the early recovery period. “Many other seaside towns have taken the government’s advice from last month and opened up recreational facilities such as tennis courts and importantly toilets for the residents to use, but not here.”

Council leader Kim Forward said it was “incredibly disappointing for residents to see the reopened toilets being damaged. “We know most people have been patient and respectful of the facilities and guidelines, and we thank you for doing so.

“However, the actions of a few have been completely unacceptable and have now resulted in us having to take limited resource away from essential work to fix and clean up the facilities.

“Please respect our town and the safety measures we have put in place to make sure we keep our infection rate down.”


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Posted 21:38 Tuesday, Jun 23, 2020 In: Covid-19


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  1. Erica Smith

    I wonder if this is ‘back to normal’ or if the toilets were vandalised by a person or people who felt that it was too early to ‘open up’ the town to visitors. I was really surprised to hear that so many toilets were vandalised so quickly after the decision to re-open them.

    Comment by Erica Smith — Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 @ 22:23


    Well, Back to normal.

    Comment by J B KNIGHT — Thursday, Jun 25, 2020 @ 10:00

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