LABOUR MEP Catherine Stihler has expressed her ‘deep disappointment’ after Highland Council revealed plans to press ahead with widespread public toilet cutbacks.
Ms Stihler, who has been campaigning to keep the toilets open, praised campaigners who have successfully forced a U-turn in some areas, but warned of an overall ‘retrograde step’ that will impact on both tourists and locals.
She urged councillors to reject the recommendations from council officials at a full council meeting on October 25, and to keep more toilets open and under council control.
Highland Council originally unveiled plans to close 29 loos earlier this year, sparking public outrage. Under the revised plans, nine have now been handed a reprieve, including five in Sutherland where Ms Stihler has been working with local campaigners.
But others will still be closed or put up for sale, while there will also be job losses, higher charges for using toilets, and less money awarded to comfort schemes.
Catherine Stihler, Labour MEP for Scotland, said:
“While considerable progress has been made since Highland Council first outlined these plans, the latest proposal remains deeply disappointing.
“I applaud the campaigners in Sutherland, particularly in Achmelvich, who have fought so hard to keep the local toilets open, but there are many other parts of the Highlands where facilities will be reduced.
“Given the huge increase in tourism to the area, this would be a retrograde step.
“I understand that councils are facing huge budgetary pressures as a result of SNP government cuts, but I urge councillors to reconsider these proposals and keep more toilets open and council-run.”