Penny pinchers demolish automated loo
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.