The Courier

Public toilets will shut for the winter

Public toilets in Perthshire will shut for six months at the start of October.

Four blocks – two in Perth at South Inch Car Park and Ropemakers Close and one each in Crieff and Auchterarder – will shut until April next year.

The closures were part of a package of cost saving measures passed in a special budget meeting earlier this year. The authority is expected to save £150,000 by withdrawing the facilities.

Although it was not on the agenda, SNP councillor Grant Laing raised the matter during this week’s meeting of the environment and infrastructure committee.

He accused council leaders of not doing enough to publicise the closures, leaving local businesses – who will be expected to provide facilities – in the dark.

“We’re running out of time,” he said.

“I don’t want people turning up on the first of October and seeing they are closed. Has there been proper consultation with local businesses who will see an uplift in the use of their own facilities? There are questions here that should have been answered months ago.”

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Mr Laing said there was a particular issue with portable toilets, which will be used to provide cover during the city’s Winter Festival.

“They will be cold and there is also a lack of child changing facilities,” he added.

Eddie Anderson, owner of the Royal George Hotel in the city, said he did not know the closures were imminent.

“It is a great shame to take away a public service that is necessary to people,” he said.

“What they are doing is spreading the cost of savings around local businesses.”

Mr Anderson said his business would never turn away anyone in need, but he had concerns about the knock-on effect.

“It is a very important decision to make for the city and there should have been more consultation with the local businesses who will be expected to pick up the slack,” he added.

Conservative councillor Angus Forbes, committee convener, reinforced the message that the toilet closures were not on the committee’s agenda for that day.

“The information on public toilets is on the council’s website. I will make arrangements for the officer responsible to make contact with Councillor Laing to answer his questions in detail,” he said.