Don’t close the public toilets

File photo dated 01/04/16 of a sign for public toilets. The will be mandatory business rates relief for all toilets available for public use - both publicly or privately owned. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 29, 2018. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
File photo dated 01/04/16 of a sign for public toilets. The will be mandatory business rates relief for all toilets available for public use - both publicly or privately owned. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 29, 2018. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Scotland’s national charity for older people is calling on East Dunbartonshire Council to safeguard public toilet provision, saying closures have a serious impact on quality of life.

Age Scotland wrote to the council ahead of World Toilet Day last week urging them to make toilet provision a budget priority. A Freedom of Information request showed that two out of three local facilities have been closed in the last five years, with the only remaining one at Clachan of Campsie.

The charity said that clean, accessible public toilets are absolutely essential for many older people and those with disabilities to get out and about and enjoy a decent quality of life.

Its research has found that almost half (44 per cent) of older people in Scotland said that they would use public transport more if they could rely on provision of toilets.

Brian Sloan, the charity’s Chief Executive, said: “We are urging East Dunbartonshire Council to ensure the retention of public toilets.

“We know from speaking to older people that clean, accessible public toilets are absolutely essential for many to be able to enjoy a decent quality of life. They help older people with certain medical conditions to live as normal a life as possible.

“For many, if there is no provision for public toilets, they simply will not leave their home. This means less socialising, and a surge in loneliness and social isolation.

“We recognise that budgets are tight, but we believe that the council should consider the wider impact of public toilet closures on physical and mental health. Many councils are already using creative solutions, such as partnerships with local businesses, to increase provision.”

Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive for Place, Neighbourhood and Corporatd Assets, said: “We have a stand-alone toilet in Clachan of Campsie, along with a toilet scheme agreement with Milngavie Youth Centre within a facility called The Waypoint, which replaced the nearby Mugdock Road toilets in Milngavie.

“In addition, all of our Hubs have public toilet facilities available. These are located in the town centres in Kirkintilloch, Lennoxtown, Bearsden and Bishopbriggs.

“Auchinairn Learning and Community Centre and Hillhead Community Centre also have public toilets on the premises.”