Council has no plans to reopen loos

Galashiels councillor Fay Sinclair at the closed toilets in the town's Bank Street.Galashiels councillor Fay Sinclair at the closed toilets in the town's Bank Street.
Galashiels councillor Fay Sinclair at the closed toilets in the town's Bank Street.
Fourteen public toilets across the Borders closed due to Covid-19 response will not re-open, Scottish Borders Council has revealed.

In response to a question from Galashiels and District SNP councillor Fay Sinclair, portfolio holder for estate management and planning, councillor Simon Mountford, admitted there were “no plans” to reopen facilities still closed in 10 communities.

Councillor Sinclair said: “The administration has admitted that 14 toilets across the Scottish Borders have been permanently closed, without any debate or decision by the council and, crucially, without any public consultation.

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“It was amazing to see Galashiels so busy again for this year’s Braw Lad’s Gathering, but I witnessed families queueing up outside the toilets at Bank Street Gardens only to discover the facilities closed.

“It cannot be right that Covid has been used as a cover for the permanent closure of vital public services in Galashiels and nine other locations across the Borders, with the public denied any say.

“I am urging the administration to ensure that a paper comes before the council as soon as possible looking at how we can ensure our public toilets are actually open to the public.”

Scottish Borders Council has 41 public toilets across 29 settlements and communities, all of which were closed at the start of the pandemic. In August 2020, 16 facilities were reopened, with a further 11 reopened in August 2021.

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Facilities at Burnmouth, Eyemouth Harbour, Jedburgh Lothian Park, Croft Park and Shedden Park in Kelso, Bank Street Gardens and the High Street Car Park in Galashiels, Greenyards I Melrose, Scotts Place in Selkirk, Stow, Howegate and Volunteer Park in Hawick, and School Brae and Eastgate Car Park in Peebles remain closed with no plans to reopen.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “[The council] has 41 public toilets distributed across 29 settlements and communities.

"Fourteen of these remain closed following the pandemic. All disabled toilets are open.

“There are no current plans to reopen these 14 facilities, however, officers are keeping this under review.”