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Stoneleigh & Auriol RA in Battle with its Councillors

March 19, 2010 1:23 PM

With all Residents' Association councillors having voted to close public toilets at Stoneleigh and in Epsom and Ewell, Stoneleigh & Auriol RA (SARA) has taken the unusual step of running a petition against closure of the toilets in Stoneleigh, contrary to the decision already made by its own elected councillors.

Despite pressure from the Lib Dems to close toilets only after a Community Toilet scheme was put in place, the RA councillors went ahead with closure. The public toilets at Stoneleigh are used by about 70 people each day and are leased from Network Rail. Despite a suggestion that Network Rail should be approached to take over management and maintenance, this does not seem to have been acted upon.

Community Toilet schemes operate in other boroughs. In Richmond the scheme is very successful. The council there pays the local business or retailer an annual sum and members of the general public can use their toilet facilities. A sign is normally posted indicating that the premises has a Community Toilet.

Councillor Jonathan Lees said "This is yet another example of how councillors sponsored by a Residents Association fail to consult with them and are out of touch with local opinion. Added to the Blue Badge fiasco it demonstrates how our Residents Association councillors have not consulted anybody!"

He continues "When the closure of public toilets was discussed at the council's Environment Committee meeting, the Lib Dems were only prepared to support such closures if a scheme similar to the one which operates in Richmond was put in place. RA councillors would not support setting up such a scheme in advance of closure. The best the Lib Dems were able to do was to get the council to agree the words ".... closure of three public toilets in parallel with negotiations with businesses to allow public use of toilet facilities". "

The Lib Dems suggest that councillors for Stoneleigh and Auriol wards drive forward the suggestion that Network Rail take over the toilets there or find establishments prepared to allow their toilets to be used by the general public.