Edinburgh will have three new public toilets 'by start of summer holidays'

Meadows, Inverleith Park and Leith Links will get new loos
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Permanent public toilets will be installed in three of Edinburgh’s busiest parks in time for summer. 

Work to build new loos in The Meadows, Inverleith Park and Leith Links will begin once a contractor is confirmed in April. 

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Meanwhile the council is in talks with Edinburgh Leisure about opening publicly accessible toilets in Portobello Swim Centre as part of building works planned. 

Culture and communities convener Val Walker acknowledged the lack of public toilets along Portobello Promenade – one of the capital’s busiest spots during warm spells – has been “a particular issue in recent summers”. 

Crowds gather in the sunshine at The Meadows, but a lack of public toilets led to people urinating in public.Crowds gather in the sunshine at The Meadows, but a lack of public toilets led to people urinating in public.
Crowds gather in the sunshine at The Meadows, but a lack of public toilets led to people urinating in public.

Residents and businesses in the area have reported an increasing number of beachgoers urinating and even defecating in public. 

Cllr Walker said £600,000 had been set aside to install the new park restrooms, adding it was expected they would be available to use by the “start of the start the summer holidays”. 

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The blocks will be ‘modular’ – which the council said was a “viable and attractive solution which can be customised” – and each will have at least one wheelchair accessible toilet, a changing room and a gender-neutral loo. 

Temporary units have been set-up in the three parks over recent summers, however the new facilities will be ‘here to stay,’ officials said. 

A report going before members of the council’s culture and communities committee on Thursday, February 29, said: “Locations have been identified with community involvement, subject to surveys to confirm access to utilities. Discussions with utility companies and contractors on permissions, installation timescales, and installation of connections for water, power, and sewerage.

“Procurement for the design and build, with a deadline for submissions of 11 March 2024 (with the contract expected to be awarded by 1 April). Appointing landscape architects to design the areas around the toilets (including access path and lighting) and developing the specification for groundworks, foundations and connection to utilities.”

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An initial plan for Portobello Swim Centre is to install unisex toilets and a separate disabled toilet, which would cost around £200,000. The council said this would likely be less than the sum needed to build a standalone permanent unit in the nearby Station Park. 

However, the report there were ongoing concerns around “access, achieving separate male and female facilities, safety, and layout” and if these couldn’t be resolved “then a standalone facility may need to be further considered”.

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