Talks lead to signs of hope for Rothesay’s Victorian toilets

Rothesay's famous Victorian toilets face an uncertain future amid Argyll and Bute Council proposals to cut the subsidy given to the award-winning facilities.

Rothesay's famous Victorian toilets face an uncertain future amid Argyll and Bute Council proposals to cut the subsidy given to the award-winning facilities.

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The future of Rothesay’s award-winning Victorian toilets looks a little brighter after talks were held with local councillors over the threat facing the facility.

Directors of Bute Victoriana Ltd met councillors Isobel Strong and Len Scoullar to discuss the implications of a proposal from Argyll and Bute Council officials to slash the financial support the authority gives to help run the loos from £23,000 to £13,000 a year.

Victoriana director Margaret Shields said: “It was a most positive meeting with all parties recognising the need to work together if we are to find a solution to cuts in the budget.

“The councillors are endeavouring to get agreement to a ten per cent cut in aid rather than the £10,000 previously suggested.

“To meet the shortfall we will need to increase our prices from 20p to 30p for a visit, and shower and towel hire prices will also have to be increased.”

Also present at the talks were representatives from Bute Berthing Company, which runs the pontoons in Rothesay harbour, only a few yards from the toilets, and which wants to work with Victoriana to offer improved facilities for the crews of visiting yachts.

“It was also recognised that the toilets are in need of remedial repairs,” Mrs Shields continued, “and if we are to allow access to sailors for longer hours then we will need to provide an unmanned facility late in the evening.

“Plans are being drawn up for this work and we will submit applications for grant aid for third sector funding from the council and for heritage grant aid too.

“Again the councillors offered their assistance and have put us in touch with individuals who can help us with these applications.”

An updated report on the council’s amenity services savings proposals - which also include closing two public toilets in Rothesay, in Argyle Street and at the public park in High Street - is due to be presented to the next full council meeting, on Thursday, September 26.