Village toilets closed by Falkirk Council at peak holiday time

Blackness beach and harbour, Falkirk Council area, walk from Carriden to Blackness
-Credit: (Image: LDRS)

Public toilets in a village popular with walkers, cyclists and families have been closed by Falkirk Council in a bid to cut costs.

Blackness toilets closed the day that Falkirk schools broke for the holidays after the local Community Council did not meet a deadline to take them over.

The toilets are among more than 100 community buildings that are being either closed or transferred from council ownership as part of the council's strategic property review.

Read more: Demolition of Bo'ness centre can go ahead as community group drops bid to take it on

However, it is understood that a group of Blackness residents, led by the Community Council, is still keen to take the toilets on with a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

The small village of Blackness, on the Firth of Forth, is a favourite destination for visitors, with its picturesque harbour and small beach with spectacular views to Fife and the Forth bridges.

The village is overlooked by a dramatic 15th century castle - best known as Fort William in 'Outlander' - and is on the route of the long-distance trail, the John Muir Way.

Blackness harbour is a popular spot for walkers
Blackness harbour is a popular spot for walkers -Credit:LDRS

While the castle, owned by Historic Environment Scotland, has its own toilets, the village itself is popular with visitors spending time along the shoreline that links Bo'ness to the west and South Queensferry to the east.

The owner of the tiny village's only pub and restaurant, the Lobster Pot, says the closure of the toilets is a real concern to him.

Colm O'Rourke said: "We have had a marked increase in people coming to the Lobster Pot to use the toilets and we are unsure quite how to deal with it.

"We are reluctant to refuse people especially with children but at the current rate we may be forced to ask them to go elsewhere.

"Many mothers come to the beach with children and older infirm people like flat walking paths along the seashore."

Councillor Ann Ritchie says she is hopeful that the toilets will be reopened as they are a huge loss for visitors to the village.

Blackness public toilets closure sign
A sign on the door confirms closure of Blackness public toilets -Credit:LDRS

She said: "Blackness Community Council is taking forward a Community Asset Transfer and are just waiting to find out the next steps from Falkirk Council.

"We hope it won't be too long before they can be reopened again."

Falkirk Council said: "Blackness WC was identified in the Strategic Property Review as a Phase 2 property.

"Expressions of Interest for progressing with Community Asset Transfer of phase 2 properties were to be submitted by March 31, 2024 and unfortunately, we did not receive this in the required timescale and therefore plans were put in place for the closure of the building.

"We are pleased to say that we have recently received an Expression of Interest for Blackness WC and the group have until October 1, 2024 to submit their full Community Asset Transfer application for the property."

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