Lothian Buses may save public toilets facing axe

The toilets on London Road are slated for closure by the end of August. Picture: Sean Bell

The toilets on London Road are slated for closure by the end of August. Picture: Sean Bell

22
Have your say

PUBLIC loos across the Capital are to be axed within weeks - but could be saved by Lothian Buses.

The transport firm has begun formal discussions with the city council about leasing some of the 10 toilets which will close to save £300,000.

City leaders said that, if agreed, the deal would lead to facilities being kept open for bus drivers, while one-off agreements could see them made available to the public during major sports and entertainment events. It has also emerged that 26 local firms have expressed interest in joining a proposed community toilet initiative aimed at offsetting the closures.

This would see staff open customer loos to members of the public in exchange for a £500 annual payment from the council. Of 12 toilets shortlisted for closure earlier this year, two – at Middle Meadow Walk and Hawes Pier – will remain in operation while options for future use are reviewed.

Business and political leaders said they were concerned about the loss of public conveniences and gave a mixed response to plans for a community toilet scheme.

Warning that staff had reported broken basins and problems with drug use in her customer toilets, Amanda Caygill, owner of Espy Bar in Portobello, said: “We have to check to check them two, three, four, even seven times a day.

“I am not keen [on community toilets] as I have seen the state of my toilets and I’m the one that has to clean them. £500 a year is nothing.”

Councillor Dominic Heslop, Conservative member for Pentland Hills ward, which is set to lose a toilet at Juniper Green, said: “Once again the council has not fully thought through the implications of these cuts.

“If anything the loos in Juniper Green are in need of being upgraded, not closed, one of the few council services in the village to be axed.

“It is no wonder that constituents keep asking me what they pay their council tax for.”

City leaders said dozens of toilets in council-owned buildings would be opened to the public in a bid to boost services.

A spokeswoman said: “In order to make essential budget savings, ten public conveniences outside the city centre are to close in the next few months.

“Edinburgh has a wide range of publicly-accessible toilets and we are taking action to further improve this provision.

“A community toilet scheme is currently being developed and we have had a lot of interest, with a number of local businesses already signed up to take part. In addition to this, we are also opening more than 60 conveniences in Council buildings for public use.”

A Lothian Buses spokesman said: “Discussions are ongoing with the Council about taking over the lease of several public toilets for our drivers to use.”

DOWN THE PAN

Ardmillan

Timescale for closure: End of July

Other provisions: Seven businesses have expressed an interest so far in the Community Toilet Scheme.

Canaan Lane

Timescale for closure: End of July

Other provisions: Nearby Morningside Library has publicly-accessible toilets. Community Toilet Scheme in the early stages of development in this area.

Canonmills

Timescale for closure: End of July

Other provisions: Hamilton Place public toilet and Stockbridge Library facilities are nearby. Community Toilet Scheme in the early stages of development in this area. Council in discussion with Lothian Buses about a leasing agreement.

Currie

Timescale for closure: End of July

Other provisions: Nearby Currie Library has publicly -accessible facilities. Community Toilet Scheme in the early stages of development in this area. The council is in discussion with Lothian Buses about a leasing agreement.

Granton Square

Timescale for closure: End of July

Other provisions: The council is in discussion with Lothian Buses about a potential leasing.

Joppa

Timescale for closure: End of August

Other provisions: Portobello Library and Portobello Swim Centre facilities are nearby. Three businesses have expressed an interest so far in the Community Toilet Scheme. The council is in discussion with Lothian Buses about a potential leasing agreement.

Juniper Green

Timescale for closure: End of July

Other provisions: Currie Library facilities are nearby. Four businesses have expressed an interest so far in the Community Toilet Scheme.

London Road

Timescale for closure: End of August

Other provisions: The Council is in discussion with Lothian Buses about a potential leasing agreement.

St John’s Road

Timescale for closure: End of August

Other provisions: Seven businesses have expressed interest so far in Community Toilet Scheme.

Tollcross

Timescale for closure: End of August

Other provisions: Five businesses have expressed an interest so far in the Community Toilet Scheme.

Two toilets to be saved as council explores options

WHILE the closure of ten public toilets across the Capital has been confirmed, two of the 12 threatened conveniences will be saved.

City leaders said toilets at Middle Meadow Walk and Hawes Pier would stay open while future options are reviewed. They stressed that residents spending time in the Meadows could access alternative facilities at Central Library, as well as public toilets at Hope Park and Bruntsfield Links. And they said moves were under way towards creating a community toilet scheme for the Middle Meadow Walk area.

A similar initiative will be pursued in South Queensferry in a bid to maximise services for residents while alternative provision will be explored.

A council spokeswoman said: “[Consultation] responses highlighted particular concerns about potential closures in Hawes Pier and Middle Meadow Walk, so we are currently exploring other options regarding these facilities.”