A Wee Council Sell-Off

At Surbiton Neighbourhood last week, Councillors declared the public toilets on Claremont Road surplus to requirement and recommeded they either be sold off or leased. They have been closed for over 3 years.

It's not the first time a Lib-Dem Council has closed these toilets because of alleged high costs in running them (they did this in the late 90's too) but with the current economic situation, it now supports their case for disposal in order to realise funds to plug a hole in the Council's finances. People were discouraged from using the toilets anyway because of the undesirables that hung around the outside seating area but it has since meant that local businesses (especially Waitrose) have now unfairly carried the burden of providing public toilets for non-customers (or undesirables).

The original Victorian toilets are still in the basement, albeit mostly stripped of their ornate fittings and fixtures. Still, perhaps there is a possibility the ugly toilet block above could be pulled down and rebuilt (more in keeping with, or respective of, the Clocktower) as a takeaway cafe to serve users of the park and local employees at lunchtime. Good idea?


In response to the initial posting on this topic, they now appear to be being re-developed, as what I don't know.... but shop fitters have installed large glass windows/doors.... not ideal for toilets eh!?

It is certainly a tough one. There are a lot of these half way houses in the area (as there are in every area), but you would not notice unless you are unfortunate enough to live near one. The only road in Surbiton that I have noticed that suffers very badly is Victoria Avenue as there seems to be a few of these type of places down there. There was a beautiful house on Cranes Park that was used for this purpose about 10 years ago. It totally changed the feel of the area, which improved dramatically again once it changed back to a normal house.

I agree that centralising is not necessarily a good idea (the area around the 'Kaliedoscope' project in Kingston became a no-go area for a while, and the YMCA was not much better). I guess that anyone who lives in a street blighted by one of these places now would be delighted to see these plans go through, but it won't be very nice for you and other people living in the vicinity.

I will get in trouble with our resident liberals in a minute, but the main problem is that this type of abuse has increased massively since 1997 as a lot of the disincentives have been removed. We are now left with the legacy of having to house many more of this type of vulnerable people.

Sorry I could not be any help, but I wish you the best of luck with this.

Surbiton Hospital Redevelopment:

It appears that the reason that the council can afford this redevelopment is because they intend to relocate other service to the new buildings which are currently spread out across the borough and paid for by us. For example a local GP tells me that there are 3 local clinics in the immediate area (Alpha Rd estate, Berrylands and Surbiton) who have been asked to relocate. Apparently there are a large number of drug and alcohol abuse patients located in the area in "half way house" type establishments. This GP tells me that there are a LOT of problems in the area which remain largely underwraps. All of these are to be moved to the Surbiton hospital site. So the hospital is being put forward as "NEW" services when it is mainly a relocation of services.

I own a house backing onto the site and I am definitely worried about that aspect of the plan. There are already a large number of empty alcohol bottles thrown over my fence and this concentration of problem people will accentuate this. If I was a family of young children I would definitely not like the idea of all these problem people hanging around near to a junior school!

I have also suffered two break ins at the house and I think that it is already a high crime area which does not need more problems.

Infact I find it difficult to visualize a new school being placed inside a hospital grounds where they deal with substance abuse and psychological problems and next to a morgue. Kingston hospital is surrounded by roads as it takes up an entire block but Surbiton is totally surrounded by people's back gardens and it WILL have an impact on neighbours.

Lastly, they have designed it as a low level building with a pretty court yard in the centre. They then go on to say how it will be a day centre with no in patients although there are to be some residential units. What are these units to be used for? This could become another problem hotspot like the YMCA! When you stay in a hotel you do not get a view of a pretty courtyard, it sounds like a vanity project to me. I would like to see the courtyard filled in with a more cost effective and clinical building design if people are truly to be in and out in a day. Move the school out of the plans and keep problem people treated dispersed throughout the community to lessen their effects. I welcome your views on this.

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