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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Pensioners pan council over loos
Protester with plastic toilet strapped to her head
Some took a highly visible approach to the protest
Dozens of villagers staged a protest after being driven potty by a council's decision to close some public toilets.

Up to 80 residents of Scalby, near Scarborough, gathered to protest that the village loo, and seven more in the borough, were being shut unnecessarily.

Scarborough Borough Council said the decision had not been taken lightly, but savings of 86,000 had been made.

Protester Margaret Batty said: "What are we paying our rates for if we can't have our public conveniences?"

I mean, it's the death of the village
Protester Margaret Batty

She added: "We've already lost the post office just over a year ago and now we're losing our toilets. What else are we going to lose?

"I mean, it's the death of the village."

Jean Greenam, a member of the village trust, added: "We feel that they've been closed under false pretences because they're not vandalised. They are very respectable toilets and they're very much needed here.

"We do get an awful lot of people come to Scalby and set off to walk, and they come in coach parties and they want somewhere [to go to the toilet]."

Pensioners protesting on street
Some 80 pensioners took to the streets to protest

Another protester said: "We're promoting Scarborough as a tourist centre and the first thing people want to do when they arrive in Scarborough is go to the loo, and they're closing all these loos. Where are people going to go?"

In a statement Scarborough Borough Council said: "The decision to close Scalby village public conveniences was taken this summer following a lengthy debate and investigation.

"We appreciate that the closure of public conveniences is an issue that people feel strongly about and it was not a decision that was reached easily.

"However the closure of Scalby's toilets, along with others in the borough, will result in savings for the council and ultimately the council taxpayer of 86,660 per year.

"Local authorities are not obliged to provide public conveniences and it was found that those at Scalby were very underused.

"Nonetheless the council still provides 48 public conveniences across the borough - more than those provided in many other areas."

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