Concern for new public toilet strategy

Stonehaven, Fettercairn, Auchenblae and St Cyrus toilets could close
Stonehaven, Fettercairn, Auchenblae and St Cyrus toilets could close

Opposition members on Aberdeenshire Council are growing increasingly concerned over the implementation of the authority’s new public toilet strategy.

The strategy replaced a previous document that was agreed back in 2008 and outlines how the council will manage the 81 public conveniences across Aberdeenshire, identifying opportunities to find alternative ways of delivering the service, such as through Comfort Partnerships.

Mearns Liberal Democrat Councillor Bill Howatson said: “We stressed that the strategy should only be taken forward after full consultation and engagement with communities.

“We recognised the importance of public toilet provision and wished to see everyone involved in any proposals for change.

“It is worrying that colleagues are reporting that at least three public toilets have been closed without any consultation, although one of these has subsequently re-opened following local protest.

“Aberdeenshire has more public toilets than most Scottish councils and spends almost £1m a year on them. It was right to take a strategic view of the whole issue.

“I know from experience in St Cyrus that closing toilets or moving to a Comfort Partnership for example can be an emotive issue locally.

“This is why we pressed for full engagement with those communities affected and with staff.

“It is very disappointing that this is not happening. Community consultation is critical to this issue.”