Rachael Hamilton MSP is calling on all public conveniences to be reopened across the Borders, following a visit to the public toilets in Greenlaw.
In August last year, the Council agreed that they would reopen 16 in key locations across the Borders in a Covid safe way. However the Greenlaw toilets have been closed since March 2020.
‘As Covid restrictions are relaxing, there remains a need to continue enhanced management and cleaning regimes of public conveniences. As a result there are no plans to reopen any further public toilets at this time. However, where an established community group wishes to re-open and operate a public toilet, officers can discuss opportunities available to them’.
The closure has caused anger amongst many locals and tourists.
It follows after many other councils across Scotland announced they would be reopening their facilities. Edinburgh City Council announced it will be opening toilets at six locations next Monday following an increase in demand.
With the country reopening in line with the easing of restrictions, Mrs Hamilton believes that more public conveniences should be reopened to cater from a rise in tourists and day-trippers.
The Borders MSP wants the Scottish Borders Council to look at opening all public toilet facilities in earnest and has also written to the Scottish Government to ask they provide additional resources for reopening public facilities.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“Many constituents have contacted me angered at the closure of public loos in the Borders, especially the one in Greenlaw.
“With Greenlaw being located on the main A697, it is vital we have facilities for local people, as well as those visiting.
“During my visit to Greenlaw, three people tried to use the toilets, which highlights the importance of having them opened.
“I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be for families with small children or people living with disabilities to have a day out, when there are no toilet facilities.
“It’s not just tourists, health care workers and tradespeople need to have facilities if they are out and about between visits.
“It must be a priority to open the public loos, if we are to successfully welcome tourists back to our beautiful Borders”.
Cllr John Greenwell said:
“I recently attended Greenlaw community council where concerns were raised about the ongoing closure of the public toilets.
“While I fully understand these concerns especially as Covid-19 restrictions are eased and we moved into level 2, it is understandable that communities want their local facilities reopened as soon as possible.
“Although the Scottish Government has relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, it has not relaxed the enhanced cleaning regimes required to reopen our public toilets.
“If public toilets were all to open now SBC would struggle to carry out the enhanced cleaning regimes required under Scottish Government guidance presently in force, keeping everyone safe has to be the priority.
“As further restrictions are lifted I will be urging SBC to get our public toilets in the Borders open as soon as possible and encourage Officers at SBC to see what the Scottish Government can provide in extra resources to help in this area”.