Spending a penny now costs 30p in Borders

The public toilets in Kelso's Shedden Park.
The public toilets in Kelso's Shedden Park.

Spending the proverbial penny is about to cost 30 times that much as a £200,000 programme to install charging machines at 27 public toilets across the Borders gets under way.

Scottish Borders Council agreed to start charging 30p a time to spend a penny back in January, and work has now started to install the automated coin machines across the region.

A council spokesman said: “Charging units are being installed throughout June, with charging starting immediately after the unit is in place.

“Signage will be in place to advise users of the new arrangement.”

The decision to bring in fees was taken due to ongoing pressure on council budgets.

The council is also inviting community groups to consider taking over the running of public conveniences.

Such community partnerships would see responsibility for the toilets transferred to other organisations for them to operate.

A further initiative, dubbed a comfort scheme, is inviting businesses such as hotels, pubs or shops to offer their toilet facilities for the public to use for free in return for money from the council.

Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, the authority’s executive member for neighbourhoods and locality services, said: “We are really keen to engage with community councils, local groups, businesses and others in the community who are interested in getting involved in either a comfort scheme or community partnership.

“Being involved can bring real benefits to your business or organisation. If involved in a comfort scheme, there would be a regular payment from the council, while a community partnership could generate income by charging for usage of its facility.”

“By providing a valuable service to your local community, you will receive positive publicity with your facility being advertised on Scottish Borders Council’s website and on social media.

“It could also potentially provide more trade for your business or facility through people using the toilet then going on to buy products from you.

For more information, visit www.scotborders.gov.uk/publictoilets

The public toilets that will start charging 30p a visit from this month include those at Coldingham Sands, Coldstream’s courthouse car park, Briery Baulk in Duns, Earlston bus station, Eyemouth’s Bantry car park and harbour, Innerleithen’s Hall Street, Jedburgh’s Lothian Park and tourist information centre, Kelso’s Shedden Park and Woodmarket, the Avenue in Lauder, Melrose’s Abbey Place, Newcastleton’s Langholm Street, Selkirk’s Market Place, St Abbs Harbour, St Mary’s Loch in the Yarrow Valley and Main Street in St Boswells.

Charges are also being brought in at the toilets at School Brae, Kingsmeadows and Eastgate in Peebles; High Street, Bank Streetand the transport interchange at Galashiels; and Volunteer Park, Howegate and the Common Haugh in Hawick.

The toilets at Broughton, Burnmouth, Chirnside, Cockburnspath, Denholm, Greenlaw, Kelso’s Croft Road, Morebattle, Melrose’s Greenyards, Newtown, Selkirk’s Scott’s Place, Stow, Town Yetholm and West Linton will remain free to use.