A St Andrews councillor has demanded action after it emerged that the early closure of a public toilet at the town’s harbour was forcing some people to use a nearby wheelie bin storage area instead.
The row centres on the mediaeval port, one of the town’s leading tourist attractions, where both male and female toilet facilities are available.
However, following numerous complaints that the toilets were shutting before the advertised time, Councillor Dorothea Morrison visited the area at the weekend.
She told the Citizen: ”The council has named St Andrews as the economic driver for tourism in Fife and it should be able to cope well with this designation.
“For visitors to any area, provision of clean, public toilets is a necessity and this is particularly so around our beaches and harbour which are busy all year long. Unfortunately the toilets at the harbour seem to be closed more often than they are open.
“I was there on Saturday afternoon to find both locked before 2.30pm, despite the sign saying they would be open until 3.30pm.”
She added that a constant stream of people wishing to use the facilities were astonished to find the opening times were not being adhered to.
Local residents at the harbour are also up in arms because in the past some people in distress have used a nearby wheelie bin storage area as a toilet leaving house owners to clear up.
Councillor Morrison continued: ”I find this situation unacceptable and have addressed it many times with the officers responsible.”
A Comfort Break scheme has been introduced by the local authority and the St Andrews Harbour Trust had planned to take over the running of the harbour toilets and keep them open until the evening, if funding was made available.
Councillor Morrison concluded: ”However, the trust was denied Comfort Break funding and without this assistance were financially unable to take this on.”
Responding, Fife Council said that the harbour toilets are unstaffed and are opened in the morning and locked in the afternoon, along with other similar such facilities located throughout St Andrews and the East Neuk.
Dr Bob McLellan, head of transportation and environmental services, added:”Last Saturday’s mid-afternoon early closure at the St Andrews harbour toilets was caused as a result of a staffing shortage.
“The crew from Anstruther, who open and close all such toilets, had to resort to closing this earlier than normal and clearly this is most unfortunate. We will be reviewing our staffing to ensure to that this does not happen again.”