Fury over threat to close town’s toilets

Cathy Duncan and Steve Byrne with the Dalintober and Millknowe tenants' and residents' public toilets petition earlier this year.

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Public conveniences, roads and Christmas lights dominated a heated Campbeltown Community Council (CCC) meeting.

CCC members Cathy Duncan and Steve Byrne, organisers of a public toilets’ petition which has collected more than 500 signatures in a week, pressured Councillor Rory Colville for answers at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

Almost shouting in anger, Ms Duncan said: ‘I am really quite cross about this.

‘There was a young fellow recently in the court for urinating in a public place – soon that might be anyone.

‘People have been writing me letters saying what are you going to do about the possible closures.’

CCC chairman Alan Baker added: ‘We as a community council strongly object to any toilet in the town being closed.’

Mr Colville spoke, in advance, of an Argyll and Bute Council meeting yesterday which discussed officers’ 500-page document detailing next year’s budget.

He told the Tuesday evening meeting: ‘Helensburgh and Oban have only one public toilet each, so it is hard to argue for two in Campbeltown.’

The council budget, which will be set next Thursday, comes against the background of an increased settlement from the Scottish Government of £2.9 million in 2018/19.

Mr Colville added: ‘It is no secret that we will be allowed to increase council tax by three per cent.

‘I’d be very surprised if the toilets in Campbeltown were not safe.’

On Tuesday, a report from Councillor Aileen Morton reiterated that when the settlement was announced in December, Finance Secretary Derek MacKay pointed out that an additional £77 million for essential services could be raised providing authorities increased council tax by the maximum of three per cent.

Mr Baker also spoke about the ‘appalling state of the roads’ maintained by Argyll and Bute Council. He said many of the potholes are due to lack of investment in the past and non-existent cleaning of gullies and culverts, allowing water to pool on the surface

In a letter to Argyll and Bute roads chief Jim Smith, Mr Baker asked for details of the Kintyre roads’ budget to 2019. He was told the maintenance spend is £354,000 and capital £310,000.

Mr Baker highlighted the following areas as needing urgent attention: the Esplanade, Barochan Place and Argyll Street, Carradale Road, Kinloch Road (particularly by the NATO depot) and the Sound of Kintyre.

CCC treasurer Ann Gallagher added that Main Street and Limecraigs also have huge potholes.

Mr Colville said he hoped some of the money from the council tax rise will be ringfenced for work on the roads.

Mr Baker continued to press Transport Scotland for further work on the A83 south of Whitehouse, in particular the rutted and potholed area above Ronachan house, which is not included in the current £600,000 programme.

CCC will donate to the Campbeltown Christmas Lights Committee. Mr Colville reminded members that the council will neither erect the lights this year nor provide a tree.

CCC member Archie Martin said: ‘They just want to cancel Christmas.’