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Town centre toilets

The town centre toilets

Toilet trouble

In case you don’t already know, the town centre public toilets are scheduled to be closed, due to lack of funding/funding cuts. Maybe not a hugely noteworthy piece of news, but vital if you need to find one fast.

Toileting is one of those necessities we all – barring medical anomalies – share. Bladders and bowels. Common ground. Like breathing, eating and sleeping, releasing our effluence into a receptacle is one of the things we all do on a daily basis – and maybe a nightly basis too.

It’s totally inclusive. One and all – welcome. Those with continence and those without. No discrimination in terms of sex, age, gender, class, culture, financial status, citizenship.

Some of us might have other needs: nappy changing; tummy upsets; periods. Not great mealtime conversation topics, but an unspoken connection we all share.

Teachers and toileting

In the flow of conversation with a friend who’s a parent, a primary school teacher and visitor to Hastings on visits with the children: “We (the teachers) spend all the time running around looking for toilets. Go to the beach – toilet. Lunch – toilet. Ice cream – toilet. Spend all day searching for toilets.”

Another friend visiting the town fumes that the toilets in her area are also being closed down. One of the things lost in the council’s cuts. (Must be a nightmare to decide where the money goes, when the budget is constantly cut… so many demanding causes and claims on the cash.)

Save our toilet?

What do you think? Are public toilets important for the town? If the toilets close, is it a good thing that people will go into restaurants, cafes, shops, the pier and the promenade in search of toilets, something essential to us all at some point in the day or in our lives?

The money. It’s down to the money. The toilet is also considered to be beyond repair – £100,000 would be needed to bring them back to good condition.

Decisions, decisions. Choices. Funding cuts – something has to go. To close or not to close?

Portable Pottys Cartooon by ZR

Portable Pottys Cartooon by ZR

Any good ideas?

Do you have any ideas? I mean, you’re a part of this town and why should we think that toilets are the sole domain of the council? Here’re some to start things off:

  • Volunteers run the toilet as a convenient public convenience for those who live here or pass through, each and every one in possession of bowels and bladders
  • Composting toilets
  • Mobile toilets like the ones builders use – or at festivals?
  • Pissoirs? (What do the women have? One of the stand-up urinators?)
  • Should we have a map of toilets for visitors? A Toilet Trail?
  • Toilet training sessions by the sea… ‘How to hold your bladder.’ ‘How not to evacuate your bowels in a public place.’ We could run workshops and a whole toilet empire could emerge – and then the money would be there to provide something convenient for us all to use.
  • We all carry round our personal chamber pots.

Posted 16:00 Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 In: Home Ground

9 Comments


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  1. Ms. Doubtfire

    How many know about this council’s recent spending spree on property investment? Millions of pounds spent on aquiring Aquila House (now Muriel Matters house), millions spent on aquiring the Pets at Home and Dunelm Mill site and more on the food factory on Queensway – and maybe some we are not aware of.
    Shame on you HBC – closing public lavatories and spending money on very unreliable property investments. Get your priorities right.

    Comment by Ms. Doubtfire — Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 @ 09:30

  2. Cllr Michael Edwards

    The campaign to provide town centre toilet facilities continues, led by the Conservative opposition on Hastings Borough Council. Of course we live in difficult financial times and local councils are not receiving the central government grants that they had become accustomed to.

    However, when adjusting to the new financial circumstances choices have to be made and the Conservative view is that a facility such as the Harold Place toilets is essential particularly for the elderly, young children and the disabled and must be preserved. We voted against the closure at the March Council meeting and I have put forward a motion to be debated at the next meeting on 19th April for the Council to replace the facility in the town centre at the earliest opportunity.

    We would welcome all support from interested Hastings residents at the meeting to show the Labour Council that they have got this one wrong.

    Comment by Cllr Michael Edwards — Thursday, Apr 6, 2017 @ 09:57

  3. Ms. Doubtfire

    It’s amazing that the council has not blamed Brexit for the public lavatory closures – they seem to have put the blame on Brexit for the current debacle over the Kier contract for refuse disposal.

    Comment by Ms. Doubtfire — Friday, Mar 31, 2017 @ 10:29

  4. Kathryn Sargent

    Hi HOT,
    When we moved here in 1990 we couldn’t believe the poorly designed ‘Grecian temple’ was actually a public toilet. At the time there was no sign indicating its purpose. It just looked – and still looks – wrong, useful though public toilets undoubtedly are. I am not contesting the need for public toilets in the town centre.

    Recent incomers may be unaware of the building’s connection
    with the severe disability and eventual death of a very young local
    girl caused by heroin. My daughter, now 33, was in the victim’s year at school.

    I prefer to use the toilets close to Priory Meadow.
    Like many others here, I’m sure, I prefer to avoid

    Comment by Kathryn Sargent — Friday, Mar 24, 2017 @ 17:35

  5. ken davis

    This pseudo-Greek temple always was a bit of a farce being a huge waste of a significant town centre location. Its demise creates an opportunity to design and build a high quality piece of sustainable architecture (several storeys high) in the town centre which celebrates local (rather than Greek) distinctiveness, makes maximum use of the site for commercial, residential and even some retained convenience use on part of a ground floor. The latter would be toward the rear of the new building but deciding where that backside is (forgive me, could not resist!) will not be easy. Common HBC, commission a design competition…..I have an idea already.

    Comment by ken davis — Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 @ 14:10

  6. Tim Barton

    I’d like to express the hope, already dashed in a number of circles, that the Labour run council not take the electoral hit for these cuts. The de-financing of municipal authorities, notoriously especially punitive to Labour councils. but in fact occurring widely, is an ideological war on local autonomy designed by the Conservative Party, fig-leafed by their ‘Big Society’ rhetoric.
    For those with time, please read Tom Crewe’s excellent piece in the London Review of Books.
    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n24/tom-crewe/the-strange-death-of-municipal-england

    Comment by Tim Barton — Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 @ 10:17

  7. Anne Hooker

    If there are no public toilets the shops will soon tire of people using there’s. This is a town that welcomes tourists as well as supporting it’s own residents every one of them may need this facility at some time especially the disabled. To be with out public conveniences is a step back to Victorian times when people threw faeces in the street and urinated in alley ways. Is this really what we want for the town?

    Comment by Anne Hooker — Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 @ 09:17

  8. jess

    Before public lavatories were provided for women to use, women were confined to the home and this aspect of things, despite the flippancy of the piece here, was a serious contribution to female emancipation and the removal of the facilities should be taken seriously now.

    The lavatories in the town centre are pretty unprepossessing, but they are an absolutely essential amenity in a seaside resort, which sees trippers by the thousand at the height of the summer season.

    Many cafes and pubs suffer from the burden imposed on their conveniences already, and in St Leonards some have drawn the line – as one can see from the notices on their doors forbidding pedestrians to use the lavatories.

    Comment by jess — Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 @ 01:24

  9. Natasha

    Of course we need public toilets. This isn’t a third world country….. yet. There may well be cuts but this country can afford to keep toilets open. If visitors stop going into the town due to a lack of facilities then the that’s even more money and income lost in the town. Tourists, disabled, children, everyone needs the public loos. What has this country come to when we can’t even have town centre toilets. It’s beyond ridiculous. And I do not believe that they are beyond repair. It’s a basic human right to have public toilets open. This is only to encourage people to use the streets and beaches. Are we going back to medieval times!??

    Comment by Natasha — Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 @ 20:39

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