The Wee Gallery
East Haven Public Toilets
East Haven residents entered into a community partnership with Angus Council in 2015 to clean and manage the public toilets for visitors. We recognise that toilets are a basic necessity for everybody and as East Haven is a rural area with no other facilities the need for a clean toilet is essential. Some of you might have seen East Haven public toilets featured on BBCs Landward. You can catch up on Episode 21 via this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m994
As there is no electricity supply to the toilets we can only open them between Easter and the end of October to prevent frozen pipes. During the pandemic we ask people to follow the guidelines - Keep a 2m distance, use the touch free hand sanitisers and do everything possible to keep all users and our volunteers safe.
Clean and welcoming - looked after by volunteers
In normal times we hang our own paintings in the toilets- Wee Gallery
The toilets are twinned with a latrine in Pakistan
Public Toilets Managed by a Community
The idea of working in partnership with Angus Council to clean and maintain the public toilets in East Haven arose in late 2014/15 when the Council, faced with severe budget cuts had to consider the closure of public toilets across Angus. Residents were concerned that the toilets in our rural community might be closed at a time when the village was experiencing a significant increase in visitors. After considerable discussion and debate, East Haven Together embarked on a consultation exercise by way of letter to every household. The response from residents was mixed and varied. A few people expressed apprehension at the idea of a partnership but with the exception of one household everybody agreed that we should do whatever we could to keep the toilets open.
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 health and well-being.
If the toilets are closed we will see 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 its 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 consultation, volunteers stepped forward and the toilets were deep cleaned and painted before being decorated with flowers and paintings.
The massive increase in people accessing the outdoors as a result of the pandemic in 2020 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 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.
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.
We are very proud of our community and the 'Wee Gallery at the Heritage Point'.
Great People - Great Place