Who will help out when you’re fit to burst?

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TO pee or not to pee – that is the question that could be facing locals after the council announced plans to axe half the city’s public toilets.

They’ve suggested locals simply ask the nearest business if they can pop in for a pit stop.

So is this a loo-dicrous suggestion? I loaded up with seven large cups of water and headed off in search of merciful relief.

First stop was Tollcross public loos. There I met minicab driver Terry Johnson, 55, who had driven from Royal Terrace. “It’s a nightmare for taxi drivers, but there’s no way I’m asking in pubs and coffee shops.”

Moving on to the Edinburgh Central Hall charity shop, I was greeted with funny looks.

“It’s kind of behind a locked door” said friendly worker Judith Herring. “So perhaps not”.

Luckily Lothian Road’s Salvo Cafe, run by Salvo Rosso, was close at hand. “It Italy it’s part of your service, so I never say no, the 52-year-old said.

Walking from Tollcross to Haymarket, I arrived at the Morrison Street loos, surely the city’s second worst toilet after Middle Meadow Walk.

“There’s a public toilet literally across the road” Haymarket Station barman Simon Traynor said, but adding that he didn’t mind if I used theirs.

Across the road, I met a similar response from coffee shop Dimitri’s. “If someone wasn’t well we’d be like, ‘just use it’” said Marcus Corrieri, “but it’s kind of just for staff”.

After being met with the same response a few times, I was relieved, literally, when the Station Cafe on Morrison Street helped me out. “I hope that one across the road closes. It’s awful. And it would be good for business for me,” says owner Ahmet Sahin, 33.

A walk ended at the National Gallery of Scotland, a few yards from the Princes Street Gardens toilets. “We are more than happy to allow people to use our facilities,” the doorman proudly stated.

At the nearby Wash Bar on The Mound, duty manager Mike Henry said: “Most people have the manners to ask, and we never say no.”

At Nicolson Square, the Captain’s Bar was more than accommodating, and at Middle Meadow Walk I was spared the graffiti-daubed health hazard due to several accommodating pubs. The vast majority of the business-owners of Edinburgh were more than helpful.

That’s a relief.

Rory Reynolds