No ‘paean’ here - we hope

SPARE a thought for the good folk of Wisborough Green in West Sussex, and all who pass through the village near Billingshurst.For it seems that in order to save pounds, the local authority there wants to eliminate the spending of pennies.

Or in other words, if you need to go, you can’t, because the council is shutting the community’s public conveniences.

Closing down toilets seems to be the latest wheeze (no pun intended) for councils to save money.

They are, you might say, washing their hands of the responsibility.

Yet, believe it or not, it seems that those we appoint and pay to run public services have no statutory duty to provide public loos.

And that’s why Wisborough Green’s experience could just as easily be visited upon us here in Rother.

Already the denizens of Bexhill Town Hall are looking at facilities throughout the district to see how they might save a few quid.

One aim is to devolve - pass the buck - to parish councils, putting them in charge of loos, and occasionally car parks, too.

No doubt a big relief for Rother, but it could mean parishes having to put up their precepts to meet the extra costs involved.

And as taxpayers it means we still foot the bill, whichever level of local administration happens to be the provider.

Alternatively, of course, it could lead to more Wisborough Greens, with public toilets simply being shut down for good.

For good? Alas, it’s not much good if you happen to be out and about when the call of Nature strikes up its urgent overture.

Respond by seeking the sanctuary of a bush, tree or secluded alley and you risk not only embarrassment but possibly worse.

Urinating in public is an offence under Section Five of the Public Order Act 1986. It may get you an on-the-spot £80 fixed penalty notice, or a fine of up to £1,000 if prosecuted.

So, whether councils are legally bound or not to provide public loos, surely there is a moral duty for them to do so?

The nearest “comfort stop” for Wisborough Greenians is now three miles away. Fingers - and legs - crossed that that doesn’t happen here .