This report seeks to gain authority for the proposed refurbishment of the public WC’s. Authority is further sought for the project to proceed to tender and placement of contract and works order for the project with the most economically advantageous contractor to permit project delivery.
Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Property, Estates & Facilities Manager introduced the report to the Committee. He explained the project was included with the Council’s 5 Year Planned Maintenance Programme and was in accordance with the Council’s Strategic Vision of the future of public conveniences within Arun, that had been approved by the Council in 2018. These were one of the Council’s most used conveniences. They were subject to regular anti-social behaviours, so it was considered important that the redesign looked at addressing those issues. The cubicles would be unisex and would open out into a wide central communal area that would be visible from Bedford Street. Baby-changing facilities would be included. The works were expected to cost in the region of £250,000. Consultation has been carried out with Bognor Regis Town Council, Bognor Regis BID, Ward Members, Sussex Police and the Council’s own Community and Wellbeing Team. A reply had been received from Bognor Regis Town Council that day, which the Property, Estates & Facilities Manager read out, which was in summary, neither for nor against the proposed refurbishment.
Members then took part in a question and answer session as summarised below:
· How many cubicles were likely to have baby change facilities? The Property, Estates & Facilities Manager would send a written answer to Members.
· Would the service corridors be accessible to the public and would basins be inside the cubicles? It was confirmed the service cupboards would not be accessible to the public and would be locked. The basins and dryers would be inside the cubicles.
· Concern was raised about the toilets being unisex and it was thought guidance had changed from government which it was thought now stated there should be proper provision of gender specific toilets.
· The refurbishment would be a vast improvement, and the Police and the antisocial behaviour team had been consulted.
· Was the central communal area covered and would there be a gate that could be locked at night? It was confirmed that the central communal area was not roofed and there would be a gate on the outside, which would be locked at night.
· It was asked whether there would be drainage in the toilets, to resolve any problems around spillage.
· A Changing Places Toilet would have been beneficial, and there was disappointment this could not be included. The Property, Estates & Facilities Manager explained Changing Places Toilets were an additional expense, and there was already provision for this nearby. Bedford Street was not near a car park so was not an ideal location for Changing Places Toilets.
· Further concern was expressed around unisex toilets, however it was acknowledged these were now very common.
· How would the design prevent the anti-social behaviour? It was explained that a lot of the anti-social behaviour related to drug dealing in the closed communal areas as they were out of sight. This was less likely in an open communal space with closed cubicles.
The recommendations were Proposed by Councillor Gunner and Seconded by Councillor Edwards.
1) The Council proceed with the procurement of the revised design and refurbishment and associated works to Bedford Street Public Toilets as presented.
2) Authority be delegated to the Group Head of Technical Services, to authorise and enter into contract with, and place order for, the tendered works with the most economically advantageous contractor following the procurement exercise to enable project delivery.
3) The funding for the project of £250,000 be moved from 2021/22 to 2022/23 to align with the likely delivery of the works.