Closed Edinburgh public toilets set to be transformed from ‘eyesore’ to community centre

Public toilets which shut in 2015 and deemed an ‘eyesore’ by residents are set to be bought by the community group.

The sale of the council-owned toilets on Lanark Road in Juniper Green is set to be approved by Edinburgh City Council at a meeting of its policy and sustainability committee on Thursday.

Proposals from the community group Pentland Community Space (PCS), set up by Juniper Green and Baberton Mains Community Council, to purchase the building from the council via a community asset transfer have been approved by officers at a cost of £23,000 to the organisation.

If approved, and the group is successful in an application for funding from the Scottish Land Fund, the building will be demolished and rebuilt as a community hub, dubbed the ‘Space Centre’.

The site already has planning permission for the planned development of a community hub with a one-bedroom flat above.

The construction of the site will be done by a generous local builder who is donating his time to the cause with only materials needing to be purchased by PCS.

In the report, council officers said: “PCS will be responsible for furnishing the space and raising the funds for the materials to construct the two-storey building.

“As part of the planning permission a second flat will be created above an existing shop owned by a third party. The development will enhance a corner of this conservation village.

“The local resident has also agreed to construct the flat above the adjacent shop at terms to be agreed with the existing shop owner.”

Ward councillor and member of PCS, Cllr Sue Webber, welcomed the news and said it was following years of hard work to rid the area of an “eyesore”.

She said: “I have been a member of the PCS since its inception and I have been a member of the community all my life.

“The public toilets have been an eyesore since their closure in 2015 and it is through the sheer drive and belligerence of some of our community members that this project has got to this stage.

“We are delighted the community asset transfer has been approved and it will now give us the opportunity to go to the Scottish Land Fund.”

Planning convenor and Pentland Hills councillor, Neil Gardiner, said: “The timing of this transfer request is important. Following discussion at the community council, I was able to discuss this with the Council Leader and it has been included on the agenda for Thursday’s Policy and Sustainability Committee.

“I look forward to a positive decision being made by committee members, helping to take this project to the next stage.’

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