Beach toilets ‘unfit’ after attack by vandals

The toilets in Bath Street, Portobello are missing hand basins. Picture: contributed
The toilets in Bath Street, Portobello are missing hand basins. Picture: contributed
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PUBLIC toilets near one of the Capital’s most popular beaches have been “unfit for use” for several weeks after they were targeted by vandals.

Hand basins have been ripped off the walls, urinals damaged and door signs broken at the facilities in Bath Street, Portobello.

Residents have blasted the “atrocious” state of the loos – at a time when tourists are flocking to the seafront.

It comes as council chiefs promised a review of public toilet provision across the city amid complaints the essential service is being cut.

Porty resident Gilbert Wallace visited the toilets closest to the promenade but was so appalled he walked away.

“I entered but came out. The gents’ toilets were very unhygienic and the smell was bad,” he said. “There were two wash basins missing, something sticking on the walls right round the toilets, a urinal covered with black plastic bag and a dispenser hanging off the wall.

“In the toilet the door plaque was broken and there was paper strewn on the floor throughout.”

Portobello councillor Maureen Child said: “They are well used. People get off the bus and are on their way to Scotmid or the beach. We have a lot of people that come on the shopping bus that comes from Northfield, many of them older people who don’t want to go and use a cafe. They are a much-needed facility.”

The council spends £2.3 million maintaining and repairing its 29 public toilets every year, with many in poor condition. The cost has been an issue in recent years, with the council indicating in 2011 it would shut them all, before performing a U-turn.

City chiefs also came up with a plan for free access to pubs and coffee shops but the move proved unpopular. Similarly, a bid to charge 20p faced a backlash. A review is yet to get under way following uproar over plans to axe the Hunter Square loos in the city centre.

A council spokeswoman said the problems came to light “several weeks ago”. She added: “We are disappointed that repairs have not yet been undertaken and are seeking to ensure that this is done as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused in the meantime and for any impact this has had on local tourism.”