The fate of the region’s public toilets will be revealed within six months after Scottish Borders Council voted to explore the privatisation of its public toilets following a report that showed the decision to charge 30p had failed to bring in the income expected.
In November SBC confirmed it had been consulting with a private company to oversee the design and maintenance of public toilets and last week Councillor Sandy Aitchison told councillors that work was ongoing.
East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing said: “I’ve had two complaints about the condition of public toilets. One said the Eyemouth toilets have not been cleaned to a satisfactory condition and were ‘disgusting’, while the toilets in Coldstream were mentioned in a Tripadvisor review which said the user had to wade through water, the toilet wouldn’t flush, the sink was out of order and the disabled toilet was locked.”
“The Berwickshire tourist initiatives are making great strides to improve the number of visitors to east Berwickshire and we are being let down by absolutely basic facilities.
“Can the neighbourhoods member assure us that immediate steps will be taken to improve the condition of our public toilets before the tourist season gets into full swing?”
Councillor Aitchison replied: “As we receive reports then we deal with them. So therefore if there are defects then we need to know about them, so please contact us.
“The fact is that this is a challenge, this is a historical issue we’re trying to deal with and other authorities in Scotland have simply locked the door and that creates other problems. We are dealing with this, as we agreed previously.”
The current 30p charge for using 27 of the council’s public toilets in the Borders was agreed by a full council meeting in February 2018, following a report where officers assured members that charging for toilet provision would generate an income of £280,000 a year.
However, the council found that the total yearly income would be just £89,000, leading councillors to vote to consider privatisation as an option for future toilet provision.