Following a budget decision by the SNP Administration, which was supported by the Liberal Democrats and the Independents, a number of attended public toilets across Perth and Kinross will close on 31 March, 2024.
Funds for the attended public toilets in Auchterarder, Blairgowrie, Crieff and the South Inch Car Park in Perth were cut from next year’s budget by the SNP and, as a result, will be closed at the end of this financial year to be replaced by comfort scheme alternatives. Only the staffed public toilets at Pitlochry and Dunkeld, which were said to have the highest footfalls, will remain.
With a little over six months to go until closure, attempts will be made to see if any of the communities want to take on responsibility for the running of these toilets. Any community groups who may be interested should contact the Council’s Waste Strategy Team. If there is no interest, the buildings could be declared surplus to requirements and sold off or demolished.
Conservative Councillor for the Blairgowrie and the Glens Ward, Caroline Shiers, commented: “I am extremely disappointed that the decision to close the Blairgowrie public toilets has been taken by the SNP Administration. The option to close these facilities has been discussed for the past 16 years I have been a councillor and has always been resisted given the importance of these facilities for residents and visitors. Taking on the toilets so they are run by a community group is an option but so too is operating them in an unmanned way such as those in really busy tourist towns such as Ullapool where you pay on entry to attend an unmanned facility. To just dismiss this option is unacceptable in my view and is badly letting down our community.”
And Conservative Councillor for the Strathallan Ward, Keith Allan, added: “This is dreadful news for Auchterarder. The public conveniences in Auchterarder are well used and an important facility, given the number of travellers going both north and south using the town as a convenient stop off point for long journeys. Auchterarder also enjoys a very busy High Street, with a thriving selection of boutique and mainstream shopping opportunities. Putting it simply; closing the public toilets would be a complete ‘inconvenience’ and will not be received at all well in Auchterarder.”
Conservative Bailie Chris Ahern, member for Perth City Centre, said: “As a city centre councillor, I am once again having to fight to keep toilet facilities open. The toilet at Marshall Place on the South Inch really needs to be kept open. It is used not only by people visiting the South Inch including football teams, but by users of the car park, people attending the farmers market and by coach and campervan users who stop at the south inch to visit Perth. It is not like closing the ropemakers lane toilet facility, which I fought to keep open, which had nearby facilities, as the South Inch toilets are nowhere near any other toilet facility. If this goes ahead, it will just be another reason for visitors to not bother coming to Perth. I strongly disagree with this closure and urge the SNP to reverse the proposed closure.”
Leader of the Conservative Group on Perth and Kinross Council, Councillor John Duff, commented: “In the budget, we voted to keep all our staffed public toilets open, knowing the feelings of our communities about these facilities, but our proposals were outvoted by the SNP supported by the Liberal Democrats and Independents. The closure of these four main public toilets will be a significant blow to the city and to these key Perthshire towns. Officers are looking to engage with any community groups interested in taking them on, however, if no community groups step forward, I hope that this decision can be reversed and the toilets kept open as unmanned facilities.”