Lack of public-loo provision in village prompts concerns

Public toilets along the riverside in Rothbury.
Public toilets along the riverside in Rothbury.

The lack of public-loo provision in Rothbury has been raised by councillors, with reports of people urinating behind the back of a closed toilet block during the busy bank holiday.

Last year, the parish council agreed by a majority decision not to reopen the riverside WCs, which are close to the children’s play area.

They voted to demolish the block – which has been criticised for its shoddy condition and is prone to flooding due to its proximity to the Coquet – and instead use the annual £5,000 maintenance bill to encourage businesses to let the public use their toilets.

It was noted that the play area is due to be relocated in the future and that there are public toilets on Bridge Street.

At the time, the issue split opinion, with some members believing it was important for Rothbury to have more than one public toilet block.

And at last Wednesday’s meeting, the topic reared its head – especially following a busy bank-holiday period.

Coun Avril Graham said: “Over the bank holiday weekend, there were lots of children at the park and there were people peeing up against the back of that toilet block again.”

Newly-elected parish-council chairman Jeff Sutton added: “And unfortunately the unthinkable happened, when a bus stopped in Bridge Street and everybody got out to use the toilets in Bridge Street.”

Coun Ashley Arkle asked if the parish council could access a grant to either rebuild the riverside toilets or to build new toilet facilities elsewhere in the village.

Coun Hannah White replied: “I think it is a great idea, but where would you put them?”

But Coun Sutton asked: “Does the toilet block at the riverside need rebuilding or could we just refurbish it?

“The enamel doesn’t get affected by water and there are provisions that we could put in to stop the toilets from flooding.

“It is not an expensive thing and it would be a lot cheaper to do that than to pull them down and rebuild them.

“In terms of the condition of the toilets – in my opinion there’s no difference between the toilets at the riverside and the ones on Bridge Street – they are both disgusting. We have to do something.”

Coun Arkle also wondered if portable toilets would be a solution.

Members said that they would discuss the toilet-provision issue in more detail at next month’s meeting and would have a think about possible locations for public loos.