To: Highland Council

Cancel your plans to close our rural public toilets!

Cancel your plans to close our rural public toilets!

Abandon your plans to close 9 rural public toilets in Sutherland.

Why is this important?

With the increasing popularity of the North Coast 500 (NC500), promoted in part by Highland Council, we are seeing ever-growing numbers of visitors to the NW Highlands and these people also require access to facilities in order to avoid more cases of human waste being left by the roadside.

As part of its budget proposals for 2018/2019 Highland Council are closing public toilets at the following locations in the county of Sutherland: Achmelvich, Kinlochbervie, Rhiconich, Scourie, Smoo Cave, Lairg, Kylesku, Talmine, and Tarbet.

The total estimated savings come to just £67,000 per year yet we consider these to be essential services, both for local people and tourists & others visiting the area.

Additionally, these closures will discriminate against the elderly, infirm, disabled, and those with long-term illnesses whose ability to do without a regular rest break is impaired.

Highland Council's suggested alternatives, such as making use of facilities in nearby businesses and village halls, are both impractical and presumptuous.

Do the decent thing, Highland Council: Scrap your plans to close these public toilets.

Sutherland, Highland Region, Scotland, UK.

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • If all theses toilets are closed there will be no public toilets, I think between Ullapool and Durness.and with the introduction of getting tourist to do the NC500 it will mean people,mostly men using the roadside as their toilet, and we do not need to see that
  • I grew up in the Highlands, still travel there several times a year to see a very elderly parent who likes to go on outings in the car while it is still possible. Knowing that public toilets are available on those day trips is important. I’ve worked in local government for almost all of my working life and recognise that despite Govt. funding cutbacks to local authorities there are some services which just must be provided!
  • We regularly holiday in the Highlands (probably spent about £1750 when we were up in June, between accommodation, fuel, groceries and eating out). Public toilet provision is one of the points we consider (and is one of the reasons I have no real desire to go back to places like Barcelona). If you want us to spend money on Highland food and drink you need to give us the facilities to deal with the other end of the process too!

Updates

2018-09-07 10:17:56 +0100

The petition was delivered to #HighlandCouncil yesterday. Combined with the paper petition there was over 14,000 signatures. The Press and Journal ran a story that you can read here: https://tinyurl.com/ycneq9cb

I've left my comments to the article on the P&J website. Feel free to add your own.

2018-08-29 22:28:29 +0100

Wow! Our petition has been collated and the online petition added to the paper-based petition has more than 13,000 signings! That's truly amazing.

We'd like to thank each and every one of you that has supported us in our fight to convince Highland Council to change it's mind on closing our rural public conveniences.

Look out for this in the regional and national press.

2018-08-26 11:55:07 +0100

We're just finalising the petition to be presented to Highland Council.

The council's own rules state that they won't consider any petition till six months have passed from the point when the decision was made.

2018-07-18 12:35:20 +0100

So Highland Council announce that they've identified a £1.5 million budget under-spend. Do they spend a bit of it on keeping out public toilets open?

NO! They decide to add all it to the roads budget.

They have completely ignored the strength of public feeling about public conveniences or have they decided to punish us for daring to question their decisions?

We all know the roads need a lot of work, especially after this last winter, but that's why you have reserves and Highland Council had £72 million in reserves at the end of March 2018, an increase on the previous year - so why don't they use some of that and put some of this under-spend towards keeping out public toilets open?

Keep signing and sharing our petition!

2018-07-06 14:54:11 +0100

We're keeping the pressure on to force Highland Council to abandon its flawed plans to close 29 public conveniences across the whole of Highland Region, including the 9 in the County of Sutherland.

They've conceded defeat over the toilets at Dornie, close to Eilean Donan Castle - a popular tourist location - which will now remain open.

Recent information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act suggests that Highland Council don't actually know how much each of the toilets costs to operate which adds further weight to the inaccuracy of projected cost savings that were presented to councillors to vote upon in February.

Highland Council's plans are in tatters. Please keep signing and sharing our petition.

2018-07-03 22:12:12 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2018-06-20 10:49:40 +0100

A public meeting took place in Kinlochbervie last night attended by all three Ward 1 councillors together with Debbie Sutton, Highland Councils Amenities Manager, and Andy Summers, Head of Environmental and Amenity Services.

Around 125 members of the public attended, some having travelled from Melness, Tongue, Brora, Rogart, Lairg, Achmelville, and Lochinver. Apologies if I've missed anywhere out.

A significant victory was when Debbie Sutton stated categorically that the P/Cs that are normally open all year would stay open after the end of October if no alternative arrangements had been found. This is a significant step.

It was later confirmed that the closure plan had been drawn up with insufficient and inaccurate data.

Highland Council's closure plan is in tatters, and quite possibly open to a legal challenge.

Please keep signing and sharing our petition.

2018-06-13 09:09:24 +0100

News! Highland Council have just announced that the public toilets will remain open until the end of October instead of closing at the end of August.

This is great news but we still need to keep the pressure on till they abandon their closure plans altogether.

Our small communities have neither the resources nor the people to take over the running of these facilities.

Keep signing, sharing, and encouraging others to sign our petition.

2018-05-31 22:20:04 +0100

Posters and petitions left at public conveniences have been taken down by Highland Council. It's almost as if they don't want to know how many people disagree with their closure plans and value these facilities. We're not letting up though - expect to see posters and petitions nearby and you can always sign our on-line petition.

2018-05-10 09:48:53 +0100

As Highland Council won't accept our petition until six months have passed from their decision in February we're trying to re-open it to more signatures over the summer months and plan a poster campaign at the affected sites.

2018-04-17 09:39:45 +0100

We succeeded in our objective which is to show Highland Council that the public are not happy about their intended plans and that they need to think again. We will be delivering the petition next week.

2018-04-16 19:34:02 +0100

OK I'm just about to close the petition to new signatures. All of us involved with this campaign have been staggered at the level of support it has received and would like to thank each and every one of you.

2018-04-16 15:39:22 +0100

We'll be closing the petition this evening, probably around 6pm, in preparation for handing it over to Highland Council. If you haven't already done so, please sign and let's get the total past the 3,500 mark.

2018-04-12 10:10:43 +0100

Oh wow! You've stormed through the 3000 signatures milestone! Fantastic!

2018-04-11 10:40:05 +0100

We're going to be closing this petition next week and making arrangements to deliver it to Highland Council so please let's get a late surge of signatures and get us closer to the 3000 mark.

William Gilfinnan, Highland Council's Director of Community Services has stated "This is not about closing toilets per se and we all need to stop talking this language. It is about working with communities and potential Highland Comfort Scheme providers to enable a different delivery model and yes they will have to close if this cannot be found." So he doesn't want us to talk about closures but then goes on to confirm toilets will have to close.

2018-04-04 12:27:32 +0100

We now have four months in which to convince Highland Council that keeping our public toilets open is how we want them to spend *our* money. We've got a battle on our hands as they will be keen to off-load responsibility upon communities who will have insufficient funds to maintain the service so please keep signing the petition. We'll keep it open until the middle of April and then deliver it to them.

2018-03-30 09:50:48 +0100

Hot on the heels of our petition smashing through the 2000 signatures marker we've had news from yesterday's Highland Council meeting that they voted to keep our public toilets open until at least the end of August while a review process takes place.

This is brilliant news and we want to thank everyone who signed both the online and the paper petitions.

2018-03-27 15:41:34 +0100

Just fabulous! Over a thousand signatures in just a few days!

Thank you all for your support and please keep signing and sharing. We've had interest from the press and even the Scottish Parliament.

Please also give your support to any petitions being setup to represent the other parts of the Highland Region: Caithness, and Ross-shire.

2018-03-27 14:19:00 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2018-03-25 15:14:14 +0100

500 signatures reached

2018-03-25 14:01:25 +0100

Great to read all your positive comments, folks. We really appreciate your support for this campaign.

2018-03-24 17:43:56 +0000

100 signatures reached

2018-03-24 15:40:56 +0000

50 signatures reached

2018-03-24 15:09:00 +0000

25 signatures reached

2018-03-24 14:34:38 +0000

10 signatures reached