Penny pinch­ers de­mol­ish au­to­mated loo

The Arran Banner - - News - by MARK DAVEY ed­i­tor@ar­ran­ban­

In many con­ti­nen­tal cities and more re­mote places, au­to­matic loos are im­mac­u­late and a god­send for those caught short.

That is not the case in Ar­ran, and in par­tic­u­lar Whit­ing Bay, where, on Tues­day, North Ayr­shire Coun­cil (NAC) con­trac­tors de­mol­ished an au­to­mated pub­lic con­ve­nience which is less than 20 years old.

The job proved tougher than ex­pected. At first work­men used a crane to try to lift the re­dun­dant en­clo­sure straight out of the ground but the up­per con­crete part snapped off leav­ing the porce­lain ap­pli­ance and its associated elec­tron­ics sit­ting proud.

A man with a pneu­mat-

ic ham­mer con­tin­ued the de­mo­li­tion by at­tempt­ing to dig it out of the sur­round­ing con­crete.

A Whit­ing Bay res­i­dent pass­ing by the works said: ‘I have been here 18 years and the au­to­mated loos were not here when I came, now they are go­ing.’

The re­moval plan be­gan in De­cem­ber 2014 when NAC coun­cil­lors de­cided to shut all con­tracted pub­lic con­ve­niences.

This will leave the much older brick-built fa­cil­i­ties as the only place to spend a penny in the six vil­lages which have them.

These are Brod­ick, Lam­lash, Whit­ing Bay, Black­wa­ter­foot, Lochranza and North San­nox.

A coun­cil spokesman said the de­ci­sion was for­malised at NAC’s bud­get meet­ing in Fe­bru­ary as the coun­cil at­tempted to find £13.8 mil­lion sav­ings.

Pub­lic toi­lets are a dis­cre­tionary spend for coun­cils. The loos are seen as vi­tal on a hol­i­day is­land such as Ar­ran, al­though, for some time, VisitAr­ran has pushed for com­mer­cial premises to open their toi­lets to all – not just those buy­ing food and drink.

NAC made an of­fer to com­mu­nity groups to buy the con­ve­niences for £1 but, as Whit­ing Bay Im­prove­ments found, that would have led to it need­ing a £19.50 sub­sidy ev­ery time the loo was used. That group has ex­pressed in­ter­est in the brick-built fa­cil­ity next door to the one which was de­mol­ished this week.

Orig­i­nally it was planned to re­move them by the end of March and they have been closed for use since Fe­bru­ary.

The brick-built fa­cil­i­ties are ag­ing and Wil­liam Bruce told the Ban­ner: ‘The pub­lic toi­lets in Brod­ick are a dis­grace. Not a good ad­vert for the tourists.’

Many coun­cils have sold off pub­lic con­ve­niences. Re­cently a for­mer Miss Eng­land con­verted pub­lic toi­lets, in a Cor­nish sea­side town, which she bought for £115,000 into a £600,000 home.


A lo­cal res­i­dent spot­ted the works and asked if a Dalek had landed in Whit­ing Bay.

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