Edinburgh plans new public toilets as part of deals for cafes in city's premier parks
New public toilets could be opened as part of deals for cafes or other concessions in Edinburgh's premier parks.
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Council chiefs are looking at options for permanent public loos at the Meadows, Leith Links and Inverleith Park, where temporary toilets were installed for the summer but are due to be removed at the end of October.
The council’s transport an environment committee was told the temporary toilets at all three sites had been subject to high levels of vandalism since they were installed, costing around £10,000 in repairs to date.
New toilets will cost around £250,000 a time to build – money which would need to be found in next year's budget, due to be set in February – but a report to the committee said where new toilet blocks are created in parks, it was proposed to include concessions within the facility and either the concessionaire could be responsible for maintenance of the toilet or running costs could be covered through the lease deal.
The report said the temporary toilets at the Meadows were sited at the main events area, but this was not a suitable location in the long term and the best site for permanent toilets was within the cricket pavilion. A community asset transfer request was submitted earlier in the year and discussions on that were under way. Ensuring public toilets are included there would be a condition of any future use of the building.
At Leith Links, Earth in Common, formerly known as Leith Community Crops in Pots, are seeking funding to develop a new café on the Croft and are expected to include toilets which would be open to the public.
Alternatively, the committee heard consultation with the community council on the future of the derelict bowling green pavilion at Leith Links had shown a desire for improved public toilet provision and the council was now looking at how that might be delivered through a concession, using current building rather than any new build.
The report said commercial and community partnerships were also being considered at Inverleith.
Meanwhile, public toilets at Colinton – which were threatened with closure after being deemed not to meet the criteria when the council said future toilet provision would focus on areas with high footfall – will remain open and be monitored for 12 months.
The council has acknowledged hat more people are visiting the area on their way to the Pentlands or to go to Colinton Tunnel, which has recently been highlighted as a tourist destination by Visit Scotland. Additional signage is to be installed to promote the toilets further to visitors to Colinton Tunnel.
Toliets at Hermitage of Braid are also said not to align with the council’s plans, but they are currently closed for repairs. The council said: “Once the repairs have been completed the toilets will be reopened and maintained until they reach the end of their life.”
Earlier in the year, VisitScotland agreed to install permanent toilets in Pentland Hills regional park at Harlaw visitor centre, Bonaly (Upper car park) and Threipmuir (car park) through its Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
There have been temporary toilets at these three sites and officials accepted a request from Tory councillor Stephanie Smith for the park to be monitored for inappropriate toileting once the temporary facilities were removed.