It’s all a bit inconvenient

COMMUNITY councillors are calling on a developer to re-build a local toilet – for bus drivers’ convenience.

Gorebridge Community Council would like Taylor Wimpey to consider adding a public convenience to its proposed development. The toilet in Powdermill Brae was closed and removed more than 15 years ago by the former local authority, Midlothian District Council.

Members believe reinstatement of that loo would be a welcome relief for bus drivers bursting to spend a penny. There is a bus terminus on the other side of the road.

Community councillors have inferred that bus drivers are being tempted to use the Birkenside toilet site – or rather the tall bushes that fringe it.

Taylor Wimpey is planning to build up to 300 houses at nearby Harvieston Farm, a scheme which has Powdermill Brae on its north-west perimeter.

Eddie Robertson told fellow community councillors that he had spoken to a representative of Taylor Wimpey regarding the housing development, and had suggested the reinstatement of toilets would be a welcome addition to the scheme.

Archie Pacey said: “The drivers are very upset about not having toilets and they’ll speak to anyone who’ll listen to them.

“Let’s say their bus is an 86 and it goes to Sheriffhall Park and Ride. There are toilets there, but they’re locked most of the day, so they can’t even get into their own toilets.

“And they’re not allowed a key because the toilets are alarmed and they’ve been told that if everyone was given a key for the alarm, it wouldn’t be secure.”

Trevor Taylor stated that he had seen buses stop on numerous occasions outside the doctor’s surgery to allow drivers to use the public toilets in Hunterfield Road, a practice which Mr Pacey claimed was not permitted.

Mr Taylor said: “This is more for Lothian Buses and First Bus, because surely there should be an issue here about health and safety at work.

“You can work in the most remote places and there’s got to be facilities for you.

“In fact, the buses don’t even go to St Andrew’s Square (bus station). They go to places in Edinburgh where there is no toilet and come all the way through the town to Gorebridge and, again, no toilet. So you wonder where they go.”

The Advertiser understands that there are a handful of dedicated toilets for drivers on bus routes in an around the capital as well as agreed access to other facilities.

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “Taylor Wimpey is currently working through the diverse range of suggestions and comments that have been received as part if its public consultation period for a new housing development in Gorebridge.

“The company is considering all points raised to see what could be incorporated within the overall plan for the development.”

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “There is no provision in the local plan for the provision of a public convenience in Gorebridge and the opportunity to seek contributions, or the provision of such facilities from housing developers, is therefore limited.”