Man with chronic cystitis in heartfelt plea for more public toilets in Edinburgh
A man who suffers from chronic cystitis has made a heartfelt plea for more public toilets in the Capital to give people like him the chance of living a more normal life.
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Tom Duane, 60, from Easter Road, says his condition means he has to go to the toilet every 10 or 20 minutes but the lack of public loos in the city centre makes it virtually impossible for him to venture there.
Mr Duane said: “I’ve been more or less housebound for the past two years and they’ve told me all treatment is exhausted and they have no cure for it.
"I’m sure there are hundreds of people like me because every time I went to the Western General for treatment there is a special waiting room for people with this condition and it was always full of people, males and females. That's hundreds of people who just cannot go anywhere because there's no toilets.
"Even during the festival time, where do they expect tourists to go to the toilets other than pee on the street?"
The number of public conveniences in the Capital has gradually been reduced over the years and now there are just 12 permanent toilets currently open, as well as a few that are closed for repairs and some recently installed temporary ones due to remain in place until September.
In the city centre, there are public toilets open at Hope Park, Castle Hill and Castle Terrace, along with temporary ones at Middle Meadow Walk. Toilets at the Ross Bandstand, West End Princes Street Gardens and Bruntsfield Links are closed for repairs.
Mr Duane said: "If there were more toilets I'd be able to go out more, I'd be able to go up town, I'd be able to go and buy my own clothes.”
He said there had been toilets at the Tron and Nicolson Square, which he used to use but they had both been closed.
“There was a downstairs one at The Mound – that's been closed for years; there were toilets beside the old Royal Infirmary; and a few years ago the council gave advertising rights to a company which in return put up mobile self-cleaning toilets around the city. You paid 20p but I don't mind having to pay if it means the facility is there.”
Mr Duane said it had been even more difficult for him to go out during the pandemic because pubs had been closed and their toilets unavailable.
“But that’s neither here nor there,” he added. “There still should be public toilets. Everyone needs to go to the toilet, no matter who you are.”
The council’s environment vice-convener Karen Doran said: “We know that access to public toilets is really important to our residents.
“We’ve reopened all of our permanent toilets other than a few being repaired and we’ve also installed temporary toilets in busy ‘hotspot’ areas.
“Provision across the city was also recently analysed and in April committee approved a plan to improve permanent provision when funding is identified.”