The proposed closure of 20 of the Capital’s 29 public toilets is likely to prove one of the most unpopular of the city’s money-saving ideas.
The situation in St Andrew Square gardens simply serves to highlight the difficulties involved in closing so many of these important facilities. The square’s public toilets have already been lost as one part of a deal between the council and a street furniture provider which will save the city £75,000 a year in total.
It is not just tourists who are being inconvenienced by this – although that is an important issue for a city whose economy owes so much to tourism – but residents who are shopping or visiting the city centre for other reasons.
Popping across to the bus station, as the official advice would seem to be right now, is okay for many people but it is hardly ideal. For others, especially parents with young children or some older people, it will be a hassle which significantly detracts from their enjoyment of the gardens. Essential Edinburgh appears to have recognised that fact to some degree with its proposal for new toilets for cafe customers.In this instance, there is perhaps an easy answer. Can a deal not be struck by the city with Essential Edinburgh to provide cafe toilets which are also open to the public? It must be worth exploring.
The wider problem of closing public conveniences across the city will be harder to solve.
The reasons are, perhaps, depressingly obvious, but the ban on selfie sticks at Easter Road and Tynecastle shouldn’t make any of us smile. Football is in the entertainment business and should be doing everything it can to enhance the experience. Banning kids and others from using a novelty device is yet another example of how a small minority of bampots curtail the freedoms of the law-abiding wider majority. Madness.