True cost of a flush in Bo’ness public toilets

Toilets face being closed in Bo'ness
Toilets face being closed in Bo'ness
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Plans to close public toilets in Bo’ness were announced as it was revealed one toilet costs Falkirk Council £21 per flush.

The town could be left without any public conveniences at all if the move goes ahead, but figures show just how rarely they are used.

The automatic toilet in Provost Road, Bo’ness, was used on average just three times a day, but the facility cost the council £18,000 annually to run.

The local authority has a budget proposal to close almost all public facilities to save £361,00 annually. The money-saving scheme caused outcry on social media last week, but council leader Craig Martin said they need to find savings from somewhere.

Councillor Martin said: “The fact is, we need to find £45 million of cuts – do people want toilets or care homes? Toilets or education cuts? The money has to come from somewhere.”

Public toilets in the Falkirk district are not well used. Even the busiest ones in Bo’ness at Register Street see on average only 140 visitors per day while the automatic machines are used even less.

Provost Road is used just 1095 times annually yet costs £18,000, meaning each use costs the council £16.44. The facility at the bus station is used eight times per day.

Mr Martin said: “They are just not used enough to justify the price at a time we are cutting jobs and losing services.”

In last week’s Falkirk Herald MSP Michael Matheson criticised the budget proposal, saying every town needs public bathrooms but the council leader said he should look to his party as to why the cuts were needed.

He said: “Why do we have to find these savings? Because the SNP Government has reduced our budget. I find it hard to accept his criticism for cutting services when his government is the reason why.”

The local authority is looking at running a comfort scheme and is working with Falkirk BID to find local businesses that could provide the services. No final decisions will be made until the budget meeting in February 2016.