A number of public toilets across a district will be closed as part of a cost-cutting council trial.

Toilets in Battle, Bexhill, Pett Level, Sedlescombe and Rye will be shut over the winter months to “save thousands of pounds” for Rother District Council.

Council bosses made the decision because the authority faces a £3.8 million pound shortfall in its budget for 2024/25.

Over the last eighteen months, the council has been in negotiations to see if the provision of public toilets could be devolved to town or parish councils but no firm decisions have been made.

Council chiefs say they now have no other option but to bring in the trial closures which will come into force on November 13, 2023.

Council leader Doug Oliver said: “We know this decision will be unpopular, but we have to face up to the stark reality of the situation. After years of reductions in central government funding, rising costs and inflation, we are now looking at a £3.8 million shortfall in our budget next year.

“We don’t want to close our toilets, but this is the first of many tough decisions we will have to make over the coming months in order to protect our statutory services such as waste collection and support for the homeless and vulnerable.”

Cllr Oliver said that toilet facilities are ageing, some buildings are no longer fit for purpose, and some have been the target of vandals, which are often costly to repair.

“Contractor costs, the price of equipment and materials, and the cost of replacing damaged or worn-out items continue to increase,” said Cllr Oliver.

“We currently have more public toilets than many authorities in the south, and unlike many other councils, we’ve been able to keep them open. However, our annual budget to provide them is now over £300,000 per year and we can no longer maintain the service in its present form.

“By closing 12 toilets across the district on a trial basis, we can focus on providing an improved service in the remaining toilets in Battle, Bexhill, Rye and Camber Sands.”

In Bexhill, seven toilets will close leaving five open, in Battle one will close, and one will remain open, and in Rye two will close leaving two open. Both toilets at Pett Level and at Sedlescombe will close and some other toilets will change schedules or close as usual during the winter months.

Rye residents have taken to social media to express their discontent at the news that the Gun Gardens and the Strand toilets will be closed over the winter.

Writing on Facebook, Sara Worely said: “They are not pro tourism then.”

Tony Edwards added: “Perhaps they could use some of the council tax we pay to keep them open.”

The following toilets will close for the winter from November 13:

  1. Bexhill Cooden Sea Road
  2. Bexhill Devonshire Square
  3. Bexhill Little Common Roundabout
  4. Bexhill Manor Gardens
  5. Bexhill Normans Bay
  6. Bexhill Polegrove Bowls
  7. Bexhill Sidley
  8. Little Common Recreation Ground (Made available only for sports fixtures by prior agreement)
  9. Polegrove Grandstand (Made available only for sports fixtures by prior agreement)
  10. Battle Mount Street
  11. Rye Strand Quay
  12. Rye Gun Gardens
  13. Pett Level
  14. Sedlescombe