6 January 2010 08:4836490
Brian - you are not making much sense, I cant understand what you are saying and the NHS and Dan Hannen are nothing to do with Dover's toilets.
As for the rest of you... I was merely pointing out the difficult decisions and the dilemma faced by DDC which is the background to what they have done.
As for how it was done, well it could not happen that way when we had the old committee structure and when I was responsible for them would not have closed them on Chairman's authority, due to the controvercial nature of the decision. It would have had to be a committee, possibly even a Policy & Resources Committee decision.
The present Government changed the local government structure to a Cabinet basis in order to enable decisions to be made in this way, for good or ill. They had a purpose in that which was to streamline decision making. The Government can therefore share the blame there also. At least we have people in charge at DDC who are willing to take the difficult decisions and show leadership, something lacking in Government at the moment. We may not like it but let us not forget why they had to do it.
Personally I preferred the old committee structure.
6 January 2010 09:1436491
I think it was wrong to close the toilets so suddenly, but and I think it is an important but, why are the Town Council reluctant to take over the responsiblity of running the Toilets ?
I know that not all of the Town Councillors are against taking them over, many are for it.
Find the answer to that question (who is stopping it) and you will have to answer to opening the toilets and keeping them open.
A lot of the shouting on here is political posturing - not all of course, but quite a bit and of course, it is an election year.
6 January 2010 11:3036496
Yes, Roger, a lot of it is political posturing - but then again, it's a political matter, isn't it? We need to be asking ourselves as a society what exactly it is we want : do we, for example value ourselves as a society if we close public amenities at the same time as paying enormous salaries to bank executives, or do we accept that there is a social and moral issue that extends beyond the fact that our Council Leader is seriously asking us to use toilet facilities in pubs and libraries rather than keep existing facilities open?
Barry's usual attempt to lay the blame for DDC's ills at the Labour Government's doorstep is, in itself, political posturing and is quite clearly arrant nonsense. No, the real issue here is that we're back to the same old Tory contempt for the very people that need the social functions and amenities that should be provided from public funding. If indeed, that contempt ever disappeared at all.
True friends stab you in the front.
6 January 2010 11:3936497
With all the talk by the blues about it ,only Sue is thinking about the old folk and young mums This looe was in the town centre and now if you are there you have about 15min walk or so to the next one and that one is not the best one anyway very small so even when you get there at times you will have to wait,this is just not on.
6 January 2010 11:4836498
getting back to the conveniences, i seem to remember a town councillor posting on here about ongoing talks between the town council and the district council on the topic.
would anyone from the town council like to add their piece?
6 January 2010 12:0136501
Let me try and make this simple, would anyone like to pay my water bills etc, I cannot afford to pay them or keep them going???. I think not, well its a simular situation, DDC are asking the DTC, to take over running the toilets, paying the bills so to speak, but not giving us the toilets or anything in return, it was the same with the play areas, DTC can look after the equipment, but we will keep the land, we might be able to sell and make a profit someday. You don't just pass bills over for someone else to pay
6 January 2010 12:0436503
I think Sheila has a good point there and one i have not looked at before.
6 January 2010 12:2436505
Its not a good point Vic, its the truth, they expect us to pay, but do not want to give anything in return, I would not take over your bills and get nothing in return, not without interest of some kind
6 January 2010 12:3336506
I am not at all political, and have no agenda whatsoever. However it seems to me that given budget cutbacks DDC have requested DTC take over a service, but they have refused to do so as is their right. My point is, have the public had their convenience closed due to the differing political leadership of the two bodies? If this really boils down to pre-election point-scoring then it is a pity.
How much would DTC have to pay to keep the toilets open anyway? A few actual facts and figures would be most welcome.
6 January 2010 12:3636507
Re Sues item 71
The possibility of charging for use of toilets should not be dismissed.
My wife was Secretary then Manager of The Charlton Centre until change of ownership in 2006.
A name from the past (Ron Dryden) and her saw the costs of the toilets at the Centre increasing, this was mainly due to high maintenance costs due to vandalism and extra cleaning required.
They introduced paying, and whilst initially unpopular with some, the overall standard of the toilets improved and the maintenance costs reduced by almost 50%. By charging the "druggies" and "Vandalisers" did not use the toilets and positive comments became the norm from users.
My wife also found that for a few days (whilst having new locks fitted) when the toilets were free the filth and vandalism returned.
In Dover Town I feel we must retain toilet facilities. We are hopeful of increasing tourist volumes to the town thus injecting finance to our economy, these tourists will have a poor image of Dover if clean public facilities are not available .
As far as the closure of other toilets. I note Wattys comments and can sympathise with the current financial situation but this should have had public debate and if DTC were not prepared to take on the costs either they or DDC should have called a public meeting as other parish Councils seem to have done in respect of retaining the facility by increasing the Parish precept.
6 January 2010 12:4436508
Excellent point! Charging may deter the riff-raff from using those toilets. Speaking as someone who has been propositioned by males in those toilets twice in the last couple of years in the middle of the afternoon, I usually avoid them these days. Charging would prevent this type of unwelcome behaviour.
6 January 2010 12:5336509
So rarely do I speak officially that I confirm that now to be so - in my role as Chairman of Finance - here is my comment.
DTC was informed in November and talks are in progress with the District on the range of issues that they wish to devolve. Indeed I am asked to attend at Whitfield this very afternoon to continue those discussions accompanied by the Town Clerk.
I posted here last year under another heading about the devolution of facilities and asked for comments.
At the D T Council meeting of 26th November ( not yet on the website but will be soon) a resolution was passed to hold public Consultation on the matters including the Toilets and Tourist functions.
The Town has asked District for detailled cost information and current business plans to properly assess the very large implicationsand this is not something that can be put aside as audit and public consultation are a necessity as far as we are concerned. Likewise any major change in our function has to be costed in detail and reported to a cycle of council. To date full cost information isn't available. From a standing start with our own staff restrictions we are moving matters forward.
It is incorrect at this stage to state that any political issue exists. Just practical ones. If you want me to post the Mayors statement to Council of the 29th I will but its half a page of A4. I have asked for it to be put on our site but that may be a few days.
I am personally very concerned about the toilets but also tourism and to swallow both those pills is a challenge. There are many other issues which the District is putting to us at the same time and all of this will be reported to the next Council on 28th Jan - please come.
In the meanwhile I confirm that whilst discussing these issue we were NOT notified that toilets would be closed immediately - so don't go blaming us for that - we are doing our best. Happy to have constructive assistance and comments but dont lets get political until we have sorted out the business/ practical side!
I dont want any politics involved - I want what the electorate want - which I believe is an active Tourist facility and toilets are part of that.
I will see what District say about the above this pm!
6 January 2010 12:5336510
this is not a political issue, I do not have the costs, but to run the toilets efficiently, you would need staff to manage and keep clean, at present they have been left with no staff, sometimes you go to a toilet, and it cannot be used because of the filthy state that it is in, with proper staff manning it, you need to pay a wage, which would also have to be catered for, to get this kind of care for the toilets the budget would have to go up considerably, and we would still get nothing in return
6 January 2010 12:5436511
I will inform you of the date of the public meeting
6 January 2010 13:0536512
Many thanks for your prompt posting re this subject.
Lets hope that sanity (not sanitry) is restored and quite correctly,as mentioned by you, that political scoring is not the order of the day.
The costs would increase a great deal with attendant. However charging (without an attendant) seems to keep the "problem" users away that causes the damage and filth. It may be that the "cleaning contract" could include regular visits during the period the toilet is open.
6 January 2010 13:2636513
I will just say this I was in there last week there was attendent doing the cleaning and doing a very good job of it,and I told him so, so it does not need one all time but one to call in the looe about 2 or 3 times aday.
6 January 2010 14:1336517
I have been informed that the toilets near the Seasports centre are also closed.On the way home I stopped off to read the notice at the Buckland Bridge toilets it reads;
These toilet facilites will be closed as from 4th January 2010.The nearest open facilities are located in Kearsney Abbey.
For any further infomation please call 01304 821199
If you knew what I know,we would both be in trouble!
6 January 2010 14:1536518
Andy - no not political posturing I was stating the factual case about the way local government is financed and the dilemma that DDC have. The simple fact is the Government contributes well over 70% of what the council spends and if that is cut, as it has been, choices are limited. Work it out for yourself how a 1% cut on 70% or so would impact on what is taken in Council tax. Consider also the high wage and pensions bill, which unlike privates employers has been increasing for councils and the additional impact of that. Councils cannot print money and are limited in how much they raise taxes.
You also know that this is just the start of the cuts and a lot more will come whatever happens in the election.
6 January 2010 14:2936520
Cut out their allowances, we would still get members of the public taking it on going back to the 1950etc it was done that way still had a full council, Town Cllrs do it parish Cllrs do it with out any allowanes.
6 January 2010 16:1436539
Closing the toilets is a disgrace - the funding and the management are the responsibility of the paid reps, and they should, quite simply, get on with it.