There is blessed relief all across the Borders as the planned closure of 10 public conveniences is stalled

Relief has been expressed after a plan to close ten public conveniences across the Borders this weekend was stalled.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 2:42 pm
West Linton toilets are among those given a reprieve. (Photo: Ian Reid)

Scottish Borders Council had earmarked Sunday, October 31, for the closure of the public conveniences, including those in West Linton, Stow, Earlston, Yetholm, Morebottle, Greenlaw, Chirnside, Denholm and Broughton.

The move has come about after the council freed up funding in its budget to facilitate the U-turn.

It was today welcomed by Ian Reid who launched a successful petition against the closure of the toilets in West Linton.

He hailed the decision as a “victory for common sense”.

The 10 toilets were closed during the pandemic, then reopened in September to “meet a key tourism window” – but had been earmarked to close again on Sunday.

John Curry, the council’s director for Infrastructure and Environment, said: “A decision has been taken to extend the opening period of the ten additional public toilet facilities that were reopened in September this year.

“Originally these facilities were due to close on 31 October, however this period has now been extended until the end of the year – 31 December 2021.

“This has been made possible by the reduction in cleansing requirements for the 16 facilities open since October 2020. This has freed up existing budget to allow these facilities to open for longer and be maintained to the required levels of cleanliness.

“As we approach the winter months, Covid-19 still poses a serious threat to our communities and continues to remain a factor in how public facilities like toilets operate.

“We have to remain extremely vigilant throughout this period to balance the needs of our communities against the precautions required to suppress the virus and will be keeping a close eye on the national statistics and adhering to any guidance from Scottish Government in relation to these facilities in the coming weeks.”

Mr Reid said: “This decision has been taken on the back of the public campaign. It seems to be that they have realised​​​​​​​ how vital the service is and they are now to remain open until the end of the year.

"In the meantime a report will go before the full council on whether to keep them open on a more permanent basis.

"It’s a case of common sense prevailing in the end.”