TWO public toilets are closing for the last time on July 1 as a result of Moray Council budget cuts.
The Leys Road and Findhorn East block conveniences are two of 12 across Moray to be made available to groups via Community Asset Transfer (CAT) instead.
The Grant Park and Findhorn West block facilities will remain open with a rolling programme of maintenance but there have already been calls for back-up via a “comfort scheme”.
Forres In Bloom secretary raised the issue at the March meeting of Forres Community Council.
She said: “Only one public toilet in Forres is to stay open. Grant Park’s toilets were vandalised and we were assured the would be fixed. I hope now they will be refurbished?”
Forres Community Council chairman, Graham Hilditch, was disappointed to hear the toilets at Leys are to close.
He said: “They are a real asset to the down so I shall raise the matter and the potential of a CAT at the next community council meeting. Some communities run their own toilets and it is certainly worth looking into, although it would be a big undertaking. CAT’s are a big commitment - they need to be financially viable and offer long term sustainability. It would be interesting to see if a local retailer such as the Coop might consider running the toilets as a service to their customers.”
He added: “I appreciate the council’s budgetary constraints so I am pleased that the Grant Park toilets will remain open given the number of visitors. It should also help support the new retail kiosk there.”
Local Conservative councillor Claire Feaver was “very disappointed” support was withdrawn from the toilets at Leys and Findhorn and blamed the SNP Government.
She said: “This is entirely due to the financial situation the council finds itself in. This is the result of additional mandatory responsibilities being placed on the council by the Scottish Government at the same time it cuts our funding. Until Moray Council receives a fair deal from Holyrood it will be impossible to avoid making very difficult decisions like this.”
Independent local councillor, George Alexander, preferred to focus on the fact that 20 of the 32 toilets in the area are staying open following an outcry when it was announced following February’s budget announcement that all would close.
He said: “The responses we received during our consultation on budget measures were based on sound argument, and we decided to keep open those which were either on a tourism route or were heavily used in certain locations.
“I would hope that, as we undergo a similar further public consultations later this year, people will see that what they say does make a difference, and that all voices are listened to.”