Public Toilets Up For Discussion at Council

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will meet on Tuesday 17 September and will receive an update report on the Public Convenience Service Review.

Our Council has 58 public toilets dotted around the region, with the service requiring to save just shy of £100,000 before 31 March 2021. These toilets are vital to communities and visitors and range from big facilities such as Whitesands in Dumfries to remote free-standing buildings in the likes of Monreith in Wigtownshire. The service has already made a £20,000 saving in line with budget requirements but this report will look at ways to make the additional £100k saving in the next 12 to 18 months.

Extensive consultation has been held over the last couple of months, with two dozen community conversations taking place throughout the region, as well as a customer survey, and employee survey and local business meetings all taking place to seek views and options on how the facilities can work more efficiently. Over a thousand people completed our survey, be it customer or staff, and more than 300 members of the public turned out at the community conversations.

Members will be asked to agree at the meeting on 17 September, that a ‘comfort scheme’ is developed, whereby local businesses would allow members of the public to use their premises toilet(s), in return for a small financial incentive. This would allow the running cost of the public convenience to be removed for the Council.

Members will also be asked to consider offering community groups a similar financial incentive to take over the cleaning of public conveniences in their area. Other options that will be considered as part of the report include mobile cleaning of facilities, something that’s already in place in Wigtownshire, as well as the closure of some of the facilities that our consultation has shown are not well used.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Communities Committee Chairman, Cllr Andy Ferguson commented;
“This report highlights the jaw-dropping savings that need to be made in relation to public toilets. Our consultation has shown us how much the community depend on the vast majority of these conveniences, and I am pleased to read in the report that there’s various options for my fellow Members to explore to try to meet these savings. I would like to say thank you to each person who took part in the consultation – without you we could not be furnished with your opinions to aid us make these difficult decisions.”

Vice Chairman Cllr John Martin echoed Andy’s comments;
“Our public conveniences are well used and those who fed back to us via our survey were please with the facilities in terms of cleanliness. This is positive news for our Council. However, the cuts of nearly £100,000 is going to mean difficult decisions. I would urge any business interested in signing up to the comfort scheme or any community willing to take on one of our facilities, to get in touch.”

See report: