Persistent vandalism has sunk plans to site a Changing Places toilet at one of Angus’ busiest beauty spots.
Instead, councillors will use more than £60,000 of common good cash to install facilities that are as vandal-proof as possible at Forfar Loch country park in a scheme totalling £82,000.
It follows repeated attacks on temporary toilets there in what was branded an “epidemic of idiocy”.
The new toilets beside the park’s ranger centre were previously delayed by a long running Court of Session wrangle around the future of Lochside Leisure Centre, which has yet to be decided.
The centre closed in 2017, leaving loch visitors short of toilet provision.
Local councillors now hope to see the “desperately needed” loos in place by the summer.
Town councillors support plan
All four Forfar local members backed a policy and resources committee plan to add £25k to the £37k already committed from the common good.
The Forfar Town Centre Fund will provide the balance of £20k.
Conservative Braden Davy said: “Forfar toilets have been an ongoing issue and problem, especially as we have been made to stay local.
“This provision is welcome, and allows people to start using the loch much more easily, without the future of Lochside being decided.”
He said previous efforts to provide toilets had been marred by vandalism, attempts to set fire to them and break-ins.
“I have deep concerns about how much money we have needed to spend to create a damage-proof toilet,” he said
“We must have lost thousands on repairs and funding, and it is disgusting folk think this is acceptable.
“This costs the common good fund more, costs taxpayers more and reduces the chances of us having facilities to use.”
Anger over attacks on previous temporary toilets
Town SNP councillor Lynne Devine said: “When we put in portable toilets they were put on their back within 24 hours and torched in a week.
“If it would have been possible to put in a Changing Places toilet inside the ranger centre that could have been an answer, but it is just not possible.
“We really need these before the summer,” she said.
Monifieth and Sidlaws Liberal Democrat Ben Lawrie said he wanted his dissent to be recorded.
“This is a worthy project, but I don’t think I can support it unless there’s a guarantee a Changing Places toilet can be included in the plan,” he said.
“I’m not sure vandalism is an adequate argument for not making toilets accessible to everyone.”
Work on the toilets is expected to start soon, as Forfar residents await the outcome of a public consultation on what will become of the empty leisure centre.
It closed in 2017 and a court victory last year by two local businessmen hoping to save it from a £450,000 demolition plan resulted in the authority having to carry out a district-wide consultation under community empowerment legislation.
The policy and resources committee also agreed a £50k common good contribution to Station Park Community Trust towards the £180k replacement of Station Park’s all-weather surface.