Disgruntled north-east residents have launched a petition to save a public toilet from closure after Aberdeenshire Council revealed the cost of operating public conveniences in the region.
The announcement that Aberdeenshire Council had closed the public convenience near a park in The Haughs area of Turriff was met with a fierce backlash.
Now, more than 300 people have signed an online petition, calling on council officers to reconsider their decision.
In her call to action, petition organiser Karen Macdonald said: “They have closed the public toilets down the den in Turriff which can only be a bad thing.
“Takin kids down to the park, kids are always asking for the toilet. Especially those who are toilet training. They think the toilets don’t get used? Well it’s up to us to prove to them otherwise.”
The Turriff and District Community Council has also submitted a letter to the authority, demanding access to the facilities be reinstated immediately.
In his letter to Aberdeenshire’s property and facilities chief Allan Whyte, community council vice-chairman Mike Rawlins says: “Turriff and District Community Council would like to object to the closure of the public toilets at The Haughs in the strongest possible terms.
“No consultation or discussion, meaningful or otherwise, has taken place with either Turriff and District Community Council nor the wider Turriff community.”
Mr Rawlins added that the members of the community council expect the toilet block to reopen “with immediate effect”.
But last night senior officers from the council revealed the cost to the taxpayer of staffing and operating 81 public conveniences across the north-east.
A spokesman said: “Maintaining so many toilets is a significant commitment for the council against a backdrop of ever-tighter budgets, costing almost a million pounds a year but leaving little scope for investment.
“To allow the council to maintain access to public toilets and to raise standards, the authority’s Public Convenience Strategy was updated earlier this year.”
As part of the strategy, the council is working with local businesses across the north-east to form “comfort partnerships” – arrangements where the public can use private toilet facilities and the owner receives a small fee from the authority.