Hope that Haugh toilets are not a tourist turn-off

Councillor Stuart Marshall
Councillor Stuart Marshall

CONCERN has been voiced that a new automated locking system on the public toilets at the Common Haugh may mislead and cause inconvenience to tourists and locals alike during the summer.

The toilet building contains a timed self-locking mechanism that automatically opens in the morning and secures the facility at night. Closed doors have led to a lack of ventilation and to visitors going elsewhere in the belief the toilets are locked.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall (pictured) said: “It’s imperative that the council takes these complaints seriously. I’ve had several emails on the condition of the toilets and the difficulties that members of the public are experiencing with the automated system.

“With the tourist season on our doorstep and the Common-Riding, it’s vital we get it right. The first impression of the town is a lasting impression.”

One constituent emailed Councillor Marshall to explain that the lack of ventilation had led to “the floors not drying properly” and the building becoming “smelly”.

Jack Yallop, chairman of Hawick Welcome Initiative, said feedback on the cleanliness of the toilets has been positive on the whole but that the closed door had proven misleading.

He said: “With the door being shut, tourists think the toilets are closed and many folk are wedging the door open with stones or a stick – they think it should be open.

“I don’t know what the idea is [in keeping the door closed] – the toilets are not getting vandalised. I would say take it back to status quo from last year and leave the door open.”

The council accepts that some of the reported problems are cause for concern. A spokesman said: “We have been made aware that people are approaching the doors and when seeing them closed have assumed the toilets have been locked.

“We are also aware that due to the door being closed longer an issue of ventilation has arisen. We are investigating this and aim to develop an effective response as soon as possible.

The council advise people who wish to comment on the condition of the Common Haugh toilets to to contact Neighbourhood Services on 0300 100 1800 or neighbourhoodservices@scotborders.gov.uk