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Nairn anger with Highland Council over lack of plan to reopen Harbour Street toilets

By Donald Wilson

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HIGHLAND Council have confirmed that there are no plans to re-open the Harbour Street toilets in Nairn this summer.

But a study is under way to examine “a future operating model” for the site.

Nairn West and Suburban Community Councillors are disappointed that the toilets remain closed for a fifth consecutive summer.

A recent meeting heard there had been considerable criticism of the inadequacy of toilet facilities at the seafront and members said it created a poor impression when Highland Council had sourced funding for improving or maintaining them elsewhere.

There were assurances last year that the toilets would be re-opened by August. There were also complaints from residents that rats were seen at the entrance to the toilets prompting a clean-up by the council. Now well into the summer season the toilets, which were closed for financial reasons in 2018, remain shut.

Brian Stewart, secretary of the community council said public toilets are seen as a key point of visitor management and it was a concern that the facility had been neglected.

He added: “We’re well into this season and it’s an embarrassment. It gave a poor impression to be extracting money for parking at the Links while failing to provide good, basic, essential facilities.”

He said elsewhere in the region the council had sourced funding for public conveniences, adding: “There remains, of course, to be the debate who will be responsible for the cost of running the facility if and when it’s brought back up to standard by the council.”

Provost Laurie Fraser said there were two toilets maintained by the council at the splash pad and in the town centre.

“They have passed the whole [harbour] building back to the Common Good. But it’s in a poor state and not fit for purpose.”

He said a survey of the toilets was being carried so it could be restored to a proper standard before being handed back to the Common Good.

Cllr Michael Green said: “I think we should try and get it open short term and look at it later for the longer term.”

A Highland Council spokesman said the toilets were closed following a decision at full council in 2018 regarding rationalisation of such facilities across Highland. They added: “There is no service budget to reopen these toilets following that decision.

“The Harbour Street toilets were also discussed at the March 2022 Nairnshire Area Committee... and the committee agreed that the council would use some of the area’s Place Based Investment Fund to commission a feasibility study to examine potential future operating models for the Harbour Street toilet site.

“We will be able to advise further once the study has concluded however, this is ongoing work and was not intended to be completed in time to re-open for the 2022 summer season.”

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