Find out more about how East Haven Together has worked with others to protect the Angus coast and marine environment

An Uncomfortable Truth

The phased move out of lockdown has brought the issue of public toilet provision into sharp focus. A decade of austerity has seen the network of public toilets across the UK decimated as Local Authorities cut services they do not have a legal duty to provide. In Angus, the Local Authority entered into partnership agreements with local communities such as East Haven to manage their own public toilets in exchange for a small grant. In countries such as New Zealand, free public toilets are available across towns, cities, rural settlements and even roadside viewing points. Given that the country is a similar size to the UK, it sets an example of what can be achieved to support health and well-being, tourism and local economies. Like the East Haven toilets, they are highly valued, always clean, well stocked and free from vandalism. In 2020, the pandemic has forced the closure of public toilets across the UK due to concerns about spreading the virus. Public Health have advised Local Authorities that toilets are high risk areas and must remain closed. During phase 1 and 2 of lockdown when people were asked not to travel more than 5 miles to a beauty spot there should have been time for indivduals to return home to use facilities when nature called. However, across Scotland the public have travelled longer distances and chosen to urinate and defecate across both public and private areas. Those behaving in this way represent all ages and all sectors of society. The behaviour is on such a scale that it risks polluting water courses and introducing other public health problems. Unless the Government is able to support the re-opening of public toilets soon the issue will only intensify as we move into phase 3 in early July. This issue is an uncomfortable fact but one which deserves some wider reflection and consideration. It has highlighted that using the toilet is a basic human need shared by everyone. For some such as pregnant women and those with health conditions, the need for public toilets is even greater. It stands to reason that if facilities are closed then people either have to stay close to their own facilities or make the decision that they will relieve themselves wherever and whenever the need arises. Maybe now is the time for the Scottish Government to reconsider the importance of public toilets in modern Scottish Society. Let’s be more like New Zealand and make it a legal duty to provide them and not just a discretionary power. Let's see a network of clean, well managed public toilets right across the country and encourage people to enjoy and respect our beautiful landscape and the wider environment. 

Thank-you

Who would have thought that East Haven Together would ever hold a virtual AGM to avoid people making close contact with one another? The very idea was unthinkable this time last year but this is exactly what had to happen in 2020 when Covid 19 arrived. At first the Trustees wondered whether to postpone the AGM until later in the year but it quickly became apparent that social distancing measures will be around for some time to come. Even if we are able to hold gatherings  they will be small in number with lots of social distance between people. The Trustees therefore decided that we would hold a virtual AGM and issue a meeting minute along with the Trustees Annual report and a copy of East Haven's updated Sustainability strategy. This provides members and residents with good information and meets the charity's governance requirements. All these documents can be downloaded from the EHT pages of this web-site. If anybody has any questions or concerns please do not heitate to contact one of the Trustees or e-mail us at easthaventogether@gmail.com

Virtual AGM

Some residents in East Haven have used their daily exercise allowance in the community garden (only one person each side) hoeing, weeding and mowing. Even those out for a walk are stopping to pull out weeds and do their bit to help maintain the gardens during lockdown. Gardening is good for mental and physical well-being at the best of times but especially during this period. It's wonderful to feel that not only are you exercising but also doing something worthwhile and with a tangible outcome. In many ways it is a much safer form of outdoor exercise than cycling or walking at the moment. The coastal path is so congested with walkers and cyclists that it is sometimes difficult to maintain a 2m distance. In contrast one can comofrtably maintain a 5m-10m distance whilst quietly exercising/working in the gardens. The big miss is the camaraderie which usually takes place and for now we are only able to wave or shout hello at neighbours, freinds and visitors. However, as we say in East Haven, 'Every Action Counts' and maintaining the  gardens brings everybody a bit of joy during this period. 

Gardening Exercise 2020

We have recently collated a collection of comments made in the Wee Gallery visitors book during 2019. They are really heartwarming and full of praise and appreciation for the facility. However, as I have said before and will say again, the toilets in East Haven are little more than an old 1970s brick built unit with a concrete floor. There is no heating, hot water or lighting and yet, people are incredibly grateful for the standard of cleanliness and the provision of a few basic toiletries. It was a monumental task in 2015 to scrub years of ammonia off the floors, paint the walls and create a welcoming environment but it was achieved. When one stops to reflect on the comments which can be downloaded from the ‘Wee Gallery’ page it seems a terrible indictment on the state of public toilet provision across the UK that people are so incredibly grateful for being able to use a clean toilet. Toilet provision in rural areas across Scotland enables people of all ages and all abilities to access the outdoors and promotes health and well-being. The comments also highlight the number people visiting East Haven from different parts of the world consequently linking public toilet provision to the economy and tourism. Far from being a low priority for public bodies it seems that quality public toilets should be given far greater importance.

Public Toilet Provision

The New Year got off to a brisk start in East Haven when resident, Jack Reid discovered ordnance on the beach just three feet from the dunes in-front of the houses on Beach Rd. Ordnance has been discovered before but fortunately on this occassion it proved to be a an empty artillery shell. However, residents were warned that they may have to leave their homes if the shell required controlled explosion. Fortunately these days, the Ordnance Disposal Unit can xray suspect items on-site to determine whether they are live or not. There are a few theroies about why ordnance occassionally washes up on Angus beaches with tales of the coast being used as a training ground for nearby HMS Peewit in WW2. Also stories of mines being dropped during WW2 and shattering rocks in-front of the house known as Four Winds. There are other reports of ordnance being dumped at sea when HMS Peewit was decommissioned after the war but this information is not verified. In the meantime, it seems that we should keep our eyes peeled when taking a stroll along the beach. One never knows what they will find!

Ordnance

The New Year got off to a brisk start in East Haven when resident, Jack Reid discovered ordnance on the beach just three feet from the dunes in-front of the houses on Beach Rd. Ordnance has been discovered before but fortunately on this occassion it proved to be a an empty artillery shell. However, residents were warned that they may have to leave their homes if the shell required controlled explosion. Fortunately these days, the Ordnance Disposal Unit can xray suspect items on-site to determine whether they are live or not. There are a few theroies about why ordnance occassionally washes up on Angus beaches with tales of the coast being used as a training ground for nearby HMS Peewit in WW2. Also stories of mines being dropped during WW2 and shattering rocks in-front of the house known as Four Winds. There are other reports of ordnance being dumped at sea when HMS Peewit was decommissioned after the war but this information is not verified. In the meantime, it seems that we should keep our eyes peeled when taking a stroll along the beach. One never knows what they will find!