COMMUNITY leaders who desperately want to save Peebles' public toilets may need to spend a penny to ensure the town is not caught short.

Visitors to Peebles School Brae toilets have been faced with some grim sights lately, according to a recent meeting of the local community council.

Local authorities no longer have a legal responsibility to provide public toilets – so they are run and maintained at their discretion.

The Community Action Team received 15 calls regarding disturbances on Tweed Green and the School Brae between October and December.

Tweeddale Councillor Robin Tatler (Ind) told members of Peebles Community Council that the incidents related to youths and alcohol.

He said: “Regarding the School Brae toilets, the mechanisms are all broken and this is rather costly to fix. This is why they are constantly being trashed.

"There are a number of communities who are considering taking ownership of public toilets and looking after them themselves.

“If they are owned and run by the community, perhaps they might not be vandalised as much and they may just be treated with a bit more respect.”

Not wanting to lose the public facilities, the community council has vowed to explore the possibility of community ownership.

Chairman Lawrie Hayworth said: “I assume it would be supported to some degree. As we all know, looking after toilets is not free. The Common Good has a bill of £1,000 a month for Haylodge toilets.

“We are aware it’s a cost to neighbourhood services within the council and to us as a community generally. Whether or not that money could be more effectively applied by having more local ownership and management, is certainly something that we as a community council can discuss.

He added: “We value the toilet facilities for our own residents and visitors, and I know they are not part of a statutory delivery requirement of the regional body.”