Reprieve for public loos?

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PUBLIC toilets in Blue Flag beach areas of Fife could be retained – if the current service provider can pass responsibility on to someone else.

That could mean a reprieve for facilities in Kinghorn and Burntisland.

Public toilet provision is currently the responsibility of Fife Council’s transport and environment services (TES). But it is working on a policy to replace facilities by seeking ‘comfort break partners’ – cafes, pubs and shops willing to allow the public to use their facilities.

However, Kinghorn Community Council was told last week that TES is in negotiation with the Fife Coastal and Countryside Trust to identify public toilets along the coastal path, which are part of the Blue Flag Award criteria, with a view to maintaining these facilities.

Steep hills

This would include Pettycur (pictured), which the community council says has no potential comfort break provider within one mile, and Kinghorn Beach, where the nearest potential alternative is up very steep hills in High Street.

Chris Mitchell, chairman of the community council, said: “We would like to see the existing toilets saved because we see no alternative comfort break provider offering their services.

“We also have concerns that the comfort break scheme is not sustainable.

“A pub or restaurant which agrees to provide facilities might withdraw a year later, by which time the public toilets will be gone and there will be no provision.”

Enhance

Mr Mitchell said the comfort scheme should be used to enhance, rather than replace, existing toilet provision throughout Fife, as there would be greater reliance on such facilities from an ageing population and people with health needs.

Damien Woods, TES operational team leader, told the community council in a written response: “TES are currently targeting Kinghorn for a comfort break provider and we have had a few enquiries. Until these are accepted we cannot close the toilets.

“The other option of these two toilets being transferred to another service is an alternative, but negotiations are still at an early stage.”

Local councillor George Kay said he was encouraged by an assurance that the Council would “work on the supposition to maintain rather than close” toilets in Kinghorn and Burntisland.