Saturday, 3 December 2011

Brighton and Hove Budget - Part 1 - Toilets and Libraries.

1) Public Toilets

Public toilets are an essential part of a city's infrastructure - don't let them close

Clean, usable, public toilets are an essential part of the infrastructure for any city that wants people to access it using public transport and to travel on foot. They are also an essential facility outside the urban area where tourists, and parents with children maybe caught short.

Toilets in public areas are open to abuse. Hence many retail outlets now restrict use of their toilets with access-codes and the like. Also, while shops already have staff on hand to look after them, public toilets generally do not have this benefit so require dedicated staff to be employed if they are to be supervised.

Acting as an attendant to a public toilet, simply to ensure that it is kept clean and call on the police if there is any disturbance is not an arduous task, and I am sure there are many people who would be prepared to take on the role as a public service and for 'pin money'.

2) Libraries (especially Mobile Libraries)

Libraries - especially Mobile Libraries - should be considered as an essential part of the councils infrastructure in communicating with the public.

Libraries should be considered one of the Councils primary public faces in communicating with the public, and part of the councils eyes and ears in recognising and listening to the public.

Brighton and Hove council - especially the Greens - persist in thinking of the city as purely the central urban area. Access to the central facilities of the city is not good for people living further out, and with the councils attacks on car owners that access is being made worse and more expensive.

Losing mobile libraries is just an other indication of this blinkered thinking.

The council should add value to the use of libraries - it should look at cutting advertising/publication in the commercial press, and issuing a free-sheet of such notices that the public can obtain on paper from libraries, or on-line. Access to other council facilities through libraries should also be considered - whether directly, or using public access computers in libraries with print-on-demand.

In respect of Libraries it is for the council to use them or we, the public, will lose them.

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