Porty at bursting point as loos locked in heatwave

Crowds flock to Portobello beach to soak up the sunshine
Crowds flock to Portobello beach to soak up the sunshine
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WHEN the mercury hits T-shirt weather, you can be sure of a need to go to Portobello.

But while the unseasonal heatwave means Edinburgh’s seaside is a convenient getaway for sunseekers, it is also currently proving an unexpected public inconvenience.

The public toilets don't open till next month

The public toilets don't open till next month

Local businesses have found themselves inundated with desperate visitors who have found the public toilets locked up.

They are closed every year between September and April/May with little demand to spend a penny out of season.

Unfortunately for cafe owners, the council has ruled out opening them up for a few days of unexpected sun.

Frances Baillie, owner of the Fun Park Kiosk on the promenade, said she had spent most of her time over the last two days dealing with customers who wanted to use the toilets.

“The last two days have seen thousands of people coming down to enjoy the sunshine, and, because the public toilets are closed, a lot of them have been coming in here asking to use the toilets,” she said.

“It is the number of people that we cannot cope with, and our toilet broke so I had to spend most of the day telling people they couldn’t use it.

“The council refuse to see the sense in opening up these toilets on days like this.

“We are paying for this in the cost of water rates, not to mention the cost of soap, toilet roll and damage. It is just completely out of order.”

Amanda Caygill, owner of the Espy, insisted the council should do more to make the promenade more welcoming for tourists and local alike.

“It is a double-edged sword, because the sunshine at this time of year brings thousands of people, which is great for business, but it also causes real problems because of the lack of public toilets,” she said.

“You get people who come out to drink in the sunshine, and when they’ve had a bit too much and there’s nowhere to relieve themselves they will just go anywhere.

“We call the council every time this happens asking them to open up the public toilets but they just don’t want to know.”

Her call was backed by local councillor Maureen Child, who said there should be more flexibility. “These are supposed to be a public convenience but it is quite inconvenient when they are shut,” she said.

A council spokeswoman said the toilets were open when there was the highest demand.

She said: “We are in the process of reviewing public convenience provision across Edinburgh, including opening times, with the intention of reporting on the way forward and we will seek the views of local communities as part of this review.”

Shining on

THE glorious sunshine which saw people flock to Portobello is set to continue this week, though it is not expected to last until the weekend.

The Met Office said temperatures were set to be around 20C today and tomorrow, with plenty of sunshine expected.

Thursday would see the temperature begin to drop, however, with a further drop expected on Friday.

A Met Office spokesman said: “It is likely to be very dry over the next few days, with high temperatures and plenty of sunshine. That will continue until Thursday, when the temperature will begin to drop.

“On Friday, there could be some scattered showers and we would expect the temperature to drop further, although there should still be a fair amount of sunshine.

“We recorded temperatures of over 20C in parts of Edinburgh over the weekend, and hopefully that will continue for a few days yet.”