Halle-loo-jah! Public toilets reopen across Berwickshire

Visitors and residents can spend a penny in towns and villages across the region again after Scottish Borders Council pledged to reopen most of its public toilets this week.

By Kirsty Smyth
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 11:45 am
Rachael Hamilton at the public toilets in Greenlaw earlier this year.
Rachael Hamilton at the public toilets in Greenlaw earlier this year.

The authority opened 16 of the 41 loos it maintains in “key locations” in August last year, with the remaining 25, including facilities in Greenlaw, Chirnside and Cockburnspath, having been shut since the start of the pandemic.

Rejecting calls to open up more of its toilets throughout the summer as Covid-19 restrictions began to ease, the council said the enhanced cleaning and maintenance regime required made it impossible.

However it has since u-turned on that decision in the face of public outcry and petitions carrying hundreds of signatures.

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In a statement issued last month, the authority said that 11 more council-run facilities would reopen immediately, with the rest – apart from the toilets in Yetholm and Morebattle which require significant repair – set to be reopened by the end of this week.

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton said: “Access to public conveniences is vital for everyone, but especially those living with health conditions or with a disability.

“Many social care workers and lorry drivers have written to me raising this issue, given the impact it was having on them carrying out their job.

“I recently held a surgery in Greenlaw, where many constituents came together to voice their concerns of the continued closure of the public toilets.

“This is a victory for common sense and many Borderers will be relieved to know that these facilities are finally open again.”

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, added: “These facilities are vital and local communities have understandably been keen to see them reopened as the petitions show.

“Running public facilities such as these seems to me to be a basic requirement of local government so I’m glad to hear these additional 11 toilets are being reopened.

“I’ve written to the council to clarify what’s happening with the remaining toilets as it’s vital they are all re-opened fully under council ownership and not privatised or offloaded.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The facilities will be open between 9am and 5pm seven days a week from this week until the end of October.