The idea of a Community Partnership arose in late 2014/15 when the Council, faced with severe budget cuts had to consider the long term viability of it's network of public toilets across Angus. Residents were concerned that the toilets might
be closed at a time when the village was experiencing a significant increase in tourism. The Director of Communities met with members of the community on an informal basis to chat about the idea and explore what would be involved. Initially, it seemed
quite a daunting prospect and we were not sure how much support there would be to actually take on the responsibility for the day to day management and cleaning of the facility. After considerable discussion and debate we embarked on a consultation exercise
by way of letter to every household. It was not an easy letter to write and it was necessary to pose a few questions to encourage people to think beyond their own personal needs to that of the wider community.
The response from residents
was mixed and varied. A few people expressed apprehension that we would take responsibility for managing the public toilets. However, with the exception of one household, everybody agreed that we should do whatever we could to keep the toilets open even if
they themselves did not feel able to be involved in the cleaning rota.
Other comments from residents were as follows:
- Public toilets are an essential service and we all need them
- The provision
of public toilets should be integral to planning and tourism.
- The provision of an accessible toilet network is a public health issue and there should be a national strategy to support it.
- We need to support other national
strategies that encourage outdoor pursuits aimed at improving general good health and well-being.
- If the toilets are closed we will have a big increase in wild toileting.
- We can't have a national cycle route pass through
the village and no toilet facility.
- The public toilets are the window on our community. A community that cares about it's public toilets sends out a strong message about the type of community it is.
- The survival of
our public toilets will impact on people's quality of life.
As a result of the letter, ten people expressed an interest in helping on the rota system.
It came as a surprise to many people to learn that whilst Local
Authorities have a Power to provide public toilets they do not have a statutory duty to provide them. Importantly, this means that they do not receive any specific funding from the Scottish Government to provide them. As a result, both the Scottish and UK
Governments recommend that Partnerships are developed in which, local businesses make provision or, in the case of rural villages like East Haven, the community.
We are very proud of our community and the 'Wee Gallery
at the Heritage Point'.
Great People - Great Place