Last Thursday the House of Lords were debating a Bill that has arisen in their House and was the second reading of the Bill. The Bill is referred to as the “Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill” One of the people who made a contribution is Kath Pinnock who is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The comment was “For example, 25% of Brighton’s public loos have been closed despite it being a major seaside resort.” which is clearly an important reminder of how much our city needs to work to provide facilities for visitors and residents alike. Kath was referring to a report that was commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health which was not simply counting how many toilets had been closed, but in fact arguing for more accessible public toilets to be created. “The report investigated public loos and discovered the number that have been closed by local authorities as a consequence of the severe cuts to public funding; the potential health impact of a lack of public loos; and the fact that many people plan their days out according to the accessibility, or not, of public loos.”
In one sense it seems rather unfortunate for us to be mentioned as later on the same Lord admitted that in her own Council area of Kirklees, all 25 of the public loos that were open in 2010 are now closed and she also referred to how “in 2018, there were no public toilets at all in 37 council areas that were funded and maintained by local authorities.” which presumably included Kirklees. The BBC also carried out a report and “It discovered that the tourist county of Cornwall reduced its council-maintained loos from 247 to 14. Some of those were of course transferred to parish and town councils”
The good news that emerged was a reference to Changing Places toilets and in particular this was something that the Peer referred to for Harrogate, but Changing Place toilets do exist here in Brighton and Hove. There is one at the Brighton Centre and another one on Madeira Drive. One on the Level and one at the Amex Stadium. The next nearest Changing Places toilets are in Seaford and also two in Worthing. Clearly we need to encourage our Council to reverse the cuts to our public facilities but perhaps we are not as badly off as in other places.