Public loo provision panned

PUBLIC loo provision in Galashiels has been panned – by the British Toilet Association, writes Kenny Paterson.

A female committee member of the national organisation, which campaigns for better public facilities, contacted community council chairman Bill White after reading TheSouthern’s online story last month on the state of the public park’s toilets.

The building has been shut for nearly three years but has been left to decay, with Scottish Borders Council promising to pull down the eyesore this summer.

However, there are no plans to replace it, meaning none of the town’s green spaces have operating public toilets on site.

And the BTA official said the lack of loos could adversely affect tourism.

Mr White said: “A woman from the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Network emailed me after reading the public park toilets story and said it was important when one of its members was visiting an area that there were toilets.

“I told her I fully agreed with her comments and she replied that she was also on the management committee of the British Toilet Association and that there was a National Loo of the Year competition which proved very popular with enlightened councils who realise it encourages tourists to visit.

“If I was a grandfather with a dodgy prostate and was looking after my grandchild, where would you take them (in Galashiels)? I would go to McDonald’s instead of Scott Park.

“We should be encouraging people to go to parks and they should have toilets.”

SBC councillor John Mitchell added: “We have gone backwards rather than forward with our toilet provision in the Borders.”

And Galashiels community council member Andrew McQueen said: “Lots of school kids will be using the public park for sports in the coming weeks, where do they go when they need the toilet?”

An SBC spokesman said the public park toilets would be removed in the next few month as soon as the power supply has been disconnected from the network.

He added: “There are no plans at the moment to replace or increase the number of facilities in any areas due to current financial constraints.

“However the council is committed to maintaining current facilities by ensuring they are managed effectively and efficiently.”