Concern has been expressed that a comprehensive Fife-wide review of public toilets could leave tourists caught short.
Fife Council’s transportation and environmental services department has carried out the review and is consulting with community councillors with a view to providing Fife with “fit-for-purpose, strategically-placed public convenience provision”, as well as making efficiency savings of around £200,000.
However, Liberal Democrat councillors are extremely concerned at the proposal to review the provision of public conveniences in North-East Fife.
Candidates for possible closure include facilities at Crail, Anstruther, Elie, Falkland and Cupar.
East Neuk councillor Elizabeth Riches said: “To close the toilets at Anster harbour is a madness. These are one of the few toilets in Fife with showers.
“In Anstruther, we don’t just have visitors arriving by road but also by boat and they require showers as well as 24-hour access to a toilet.
“As for the Billowness facilities, these are used by coastal walkers daily and serve a most essential purpose. It should be remembered that very many of our areas rely on tourists, who often arrive by the busload, and no toilets means no return visit.”
Fellow East Neuk councilor Donald Macgregor said: “The toilets at Crail are essential for tourists, as I know from personal experience as a tour guide. The harbour is the most photographed in Scotland for calendars and is much visited.
“There is no other toilet in central Elie, save Stenton Row, and, of course, the walkers along the coastal path, which is of huge importance to the whole of Fife, require toilet stops in every village.”
Howe of Fife councillor Donald Lothian said: “Falkland is a major tourist attraction, but the nearby Lomond Hills are also a significant draw for tourists. Both directly boost the local and Fife economy and public toilets are always important in this context.”
Cupar councillor Margaret Kennedy is also unconvinced that the conveniences at the Fluthers and Bonnygate should go. She said: “Cupar most certainly has no alternative that is appropriate so I will be actively campaigning against these closures.”
The Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Tim Brett, said: “We asked the Labour administration that decisions on this matter be taken in each of the seven local areas and stated it was vital that community councils, who best know their local needs, should also be asked for their views.
“I am pleased the administration has agreed to do this but I am sure that there will be many people who wish to comment on these proposals before they come back to committee.’
The conveniences in North-East Fife under threat are: two toilets in Anstruther (at Anstruther harbour and Billowness), two toilets in Crail (at the harbour and Westgate), two toilets in Cupar (at Bonnygate and Fluthers car park), one toilet in Elie (at Stenton Row) and one toilet in Falkland (at Back Wynd).
Dr Bob McLellan, Fife Council’s head of transportation and environmental services, said: “A comprehensive, Fife-wide review of public toilets has been carried out by transportation and environmental services over the last six months. We are also engaging with all community councils to get their views.
“This is aimed at providing Fife with fit-for-purpose, strategically-placed public convenience provision, as well as making efficiency savings.
“The proposals contained in the review will be considered at the relevant area committee meetings in due course. We don’t have a definite date yet but it’s likely to be June.”