We’ve all been there. An urgent call of nature which necessitates a visit to a public toilet normally to be avoided at all costs.
The pungent stench which hits you as soon as you swing open the graffitied, seemingly prison-like, door, ushering you into a dimly lit cavern with pools of water on the floor, overflowing toilets and wash hand basins you feel would actually make your hands dirtier...
It is a common story and one which has almost become the accepted norm for many public loos. But guess what? They don’t have to be kept in such a condition. They could actually be presented as pleasant places to visit, provided for the convenience of the public.
The latest entry to the toilet wall of shame today is the toilet block in Bath Street, Portobello. It is – or should be – among the busiest in Edinburgh during the summer and so logic would tell you that it should be maintained to a high standard.
Instead, anyone in the know will body swerve the block. Visitors are only likely to make the mistake of spending a penny there once.
It is not unique but are symptomatic of a wider issue. Lack of investment and maintenance – perhaps having been seen as an easy cut by cash-strapped council chiefs – have created what is a pretty sad state of affairs.
Maybe it doesn’t affect us. Perhaps we have learned to live with lousy loos.
But what about the visitors to the city (of which there are more than a few at the moment)? What does it say about Edinburgh if we cannot even provide decent clean toilet facilities?
A review of public toilet provision is set to be carried out and we hope this will result in the city council getting on top of this problem once and for all.
Money is tight at the moment, but there really can’t be any penny pinching when it comes to spending a penny.