Public reaction, please, at your convenience
I WAS somewhat surprised with the content of parish councillor Martin Toomey's letter in response to the article in the previous week's Steyning Herald, about Steyning's bus shelter and toilet facility inthe High Street.
Councillor Toomey referred to the exchairman's scheme for redevelopment.
The proposal for redevelopment of the site was, in fact, generated over a number of years by a group made up of Horsham District Council (HDC) officers, HDC councillors and Steyning Parish Council (SPC) councillors.
The progress of the group was periodically reported back to SPC highways and lighting committee and the full council.
Following overwhelming acceptance during the public consultation, the final proposal was approved by the full council for submission to the planning authority.
With regard to no commercial interest, a local estate agent was in touch with various developers, but, without detailed planning approval, it could not be marketed effectively.
Henfield, however, which followed a similar route, is progressing its
project to fruition without the need for public funding.
The previous council did not have a full structural survey of the current building.
This decision was taken before my involvement, but I understand it revolved around a visit from The British Toilet Association, when the need for the current level of amenities was recognised and the configuration of the current building was seen as unsuitable for refurbishment.
I had initially hoped that Councillor Toomey would justify the current decision to provide only two toilets since he chaired a Steyning Partnership group which carried out a survey of use of the current toilets.
However, in the absence of a response, I can quote from another survey document made available recently by SPC.
This shows that, at peak times, during the summer months, 46 people used the toilets during a single hour.
As a matter of interest, during the Christmas event, this went up to 119.
This was a very limited survey and was conducted four years ago, so the use now may be higher.
Does the current council firmly believe that two unisex toilet units opening directly onto the street will cope with this volume of people without queueing?
Is the retention of the current level of seating in the bus shelter and the provision of just two toilets worth spending approximately 86,000 of public money?
There is a serious need for public consultation.
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