Public toilets on the agenda at Duns and Eyemouth

Public toilets in Brierybaulk in Duns.
Public toilets in Brierybaulk in Duns.

Communities across the region are invited to air their views on the future of public land and buildings - including public toilets.

A series of events is being held by Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership (Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Enterprise and other organisations), and next week they will be in Eyemouth and Duns - Eyemouth, Hippodrome (Monday, February 27); Duns, Council Chamber (Tuesday, February 28) both 7.30pm start. The council is keen to speak to community groups about public toilets and potential partnership arrangements.

On the agenda will be the future use of publicly owned land and buildings including civic buildings and offices, contact centres, libraries, community centres, commercial properties, vacant properties and parks and open spaces.

Councillor Jim Brown, chairman of the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership Strategic Board, said: “Public organisations in the Borders face some big challenges and major opportunities in the coming years.

“The landscape in which we operate has changed dramatically over the past decade and the pace of change – driven by technology, the squeeze on public sector finance and changes in both the size and age profile of the population – continues to grow.

“We constantly need to rethink and reprioritise what we provide and find better ways of doing things so that essential services are maintained and improved, as well as make some difficult decisions.

“Organisations like the council will not be able to continue to maintain the large number of buildings it has and we will need to look at which properties we should keep – and invest in – and which ones we no longer require and look at options for these.

“Topics will include legislation, the opportunities and challenges facing public bodies and communities in the coming years and a look at the types of land and property we have and what the future could hold for them.”

The community events are in line with the new Community Empowerment Act, with the Asset Transfer section of the Act which went live last month allowing community groups who meet certain criteria to request to buy, lease or use any estates, land or buildings owned by SBC, NHS Borders or Police Scotland.

The sessions will take place from 7pm to 8.30pm each night: Eyemouth, Hippodrome (Monday 27 February); Duns, Council Chamber (Tuesday 28 February); Hawick Town Hall (Wednesday 1 March); Kelso, Tait Hall (Tuesday 7 March); Peebles, Burgh Hall (Wednesday 8 March); Selkirk, Victoria Halls (Thursday 9 March); Jedburgh Town Hall (Monday 13 March); Galashiels Transport Interchange (Thursday 16 March).