Agenda and draft minutes

Extraordinary Consultative Virtual meeting, Overview Committee - Thursday, 25th November, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: online via the Zoom App

Contact: Susan Howl  01395 517540 email  showl@eastdevon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

15.

Public Speaking

Information on public speaking is available online.

Minutes:

The following statement was read out on behalf of Honorary Alderman, Peter Burrow, in relation to the public toilet review:

 

“As I have been involved in getting the carnival events back up and running I had taken less of an interest in Council events, however I picked up on the review in late September as I was involved with the previous one many years ago and has encouraged me back onto Seaton Town Council.

 

The paper mentioned a co-ordinated campaign in getting people to response to the questionnaire when the results are not to the liking of those that initiated the consultation in the first place.  To get as much response in the cornerstone of any democracy.

 

The consultation was itself loaded to make people support the premise of the categorisation made by the officers before answering questions about the toilets themselves.  I, myself, had to go through it five times before putting the answers in, so it is disingenuous of the officers complaining of co-ordinated campaigns when they do not like the answers that they were expecting.

 

If when I personally went on Facebook to encourage people to response to the consultation less than a week before the closing date is the co-ordinated campaign I feel the officers underestimate the feelings of the residents of Seaton as a proper campaign done seven weeks earlier would have got an even more representative view of their opinions.

 

Relating to the Underfleet toilets, in clear view, the officers say that they can use the facilities at Tesco’s as it was a planning condition.  There was a planning condition that two zebra crossings be built on Harbour Road and there is only one!  To access the toilets, which are not displayed, you must go into the front entrance 100 metres further away than the Underfleet ones then pass through the pay-out tills walk right along the store into the Costa area to find them, another 80 metre journey.  Before Covid this was bad enough but wearing masks and negotiating young people in Costa is not something elderly people getting off the coaches want to do.

 

The Underfleet toilets there are very well used with disabled access, when event are held there in Thurley Harcourt Place, in fact, Saturday is a perfect example with the late night shopping/lights switch on and Christmas carnival which I have organised with the carnival committee.  The parade starts there and with the desire of people to be entertained there will be hundreds there and they would not like to trek to the seafront if caught short.

 

Sadly, the public toilet review contained many flaws and a perfect example with the Chine toilets.  Their closure was sold to the people of Seaton as upgrade of the premises with access to the toilets all year.  Yes, the Hideaway Café does look nice but as you can expect it is not open all the time.  There have never been a sign that explains that the toilets within are available to coastal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Dawn Manley, Personal, Sidmouth Town Councillor.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Helen Parr, Personal, Ward Member for Coly Valley.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Jake Bonetta, Personal, Ward Member for Honiton St Michaels and a Honiton Town Council for St Michaels.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Mike Allen and Councillor Phil Twiss, Personal, Ward Member for Honiton St Michaels.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Paul Millar, Personal, Director of Sideshore Community Interest Company who are working with EDDC on public toilets.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Steve Gazzard and Councillor Tony Woodward, Personal, Exmouth Town Councillor.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Val Ranger, Personal, Member of the Gigg Club that use the toilets at Port Royal, Sidmouth.

 

Minute 17. Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report.

Councillor Vicky Johns, Personal, user of toilet facilities.

17.

Public Toilets Review - Consultation results and report pdf icon PDF 585 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded Members that the item had been deferred from the meeting on 18 November to allow Councillors and members of the public more time to read the report and associated papers.

 

The Service Lead – Streetscene gave a detailed presentation to the committee outlining the consultation results and categorisation proposal.  Members’ noted that 1,267 responses had been received which included:

·         Most respondents want the council to continue to provide what is provided now;

·         Many respondents commented on how the proposed changes would impact on those with protected characteristics including age and disability.

 

The Service Lead – Streetscene explained the three priorities from the report that Members’ would need to consider, which were:

·         To review the equalities impact assessment and the consultation reports and to provide Cabinet with your view to assist with their decision making;

·         The current recommendations is to approve the categorisation as set out in the report, Overview Committee were asked to debate this;

·         The reasons the review was required:

Ø  The need to invest in the retained sites;

Ø  The need to improve standards;

Ø  Can no longer afford to provide at all sites;

Ø  Would like to ask others to help: community groups, local businesses and other tiers of local government.

 

He also expanded on the reasons for undertaking the review which included:

·         There had been no investment in toilets since 2014.  This was now overdue and needed.

·         There was a large budget deficit and a need to make savings to address the deficit. 

·         There was a need to make the service more affordable.

·         An opportunity for alternative uses to bring additional attractions to an area, such as, a new community or local business space.

 

Comments made by the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Portfolio Holder for Coast Country and Environment included:

 

The Portfolio Holder for Finance stressed the importance for Members’ to take into account the Council’s current situation with the budget for this year and 2022/2023.  He advised that the projected shortfall for this year was £439k which would need to be taken from the General Fund Reserve which cannot continue to be relied upon and an estimate of £700k for 2022/2023 leaving an estimated £300 - £500k to find.  

 

The Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment acknowledged the challenge that Committee Members faced following the public consultation.  He personally thanked the Service Lead – Streetscene, Jamie Buckley and the rest of the team for all their hard work, stamina and perseverance.

 

He advised that the 27 toilets provided by the Council were in need of substantial investment and addressed that in the current climate they were difficult to clean, not Covid compliant, easy to vandalise and not up to standard for baby/adult changing facilities.  He addressed the need to act now to maintain the toilets to their highest standards by borrowing at a very low rate with the need to substantially reduce the cleaning and maintenance costs.

The Portfolio Holder for Coast Country and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.