A TORY-led council has been criticised after voting to permanently close a third of public toilets in the region – a plan some elected members apparently heard about via social media.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) voted 23 to nine not to reopen 14 facilities closed at the start of the Covid pandemic despite calls for a public consultation and more explanation to justify the move.

The SNP’s Fay Sinclair proposed an amendment calling for more information, pointing out that some councillors learned of the plans through Facebook.

She said difficult financial decisions are having to be made by the council but still feels disappointed with the way it was handled by the Tory administration.

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“It beggars belief that the executive member, Councillor [Simon] Mountford, described the permanent closure of 14 public toilets as ‘good news’,” said Sinclair.

“I don’t deny there’s a need to take difficult decisions in the current financial climate, but I’m really disappointed that my request for community consultation and a detailed rationale for each closure was voted down.

“I welcome an exercise to map both council-operated and other public access toilets, but feel this information should have been provided in advance of councillors being asked to make the difficult decision to close a third of facilities previously provided by SBC.”

The Tory-led administration is backed up by three independent councillors.

SNP councillor Aileen Orr spoke of the need for a new facility at Burnmouth after the previous toilet was taken out of commission by a land slip, saying it had created a problem with human waste in the popular tourist spot.

There was public opposition to the closure of the toilet at another busy tourist destination, St Marys Loch, with the council clarifying via social media that negotiations were ongoing with Wemyss and Marches Estates which owns the building to take over its running.

Earlier this year the council was slated for deciding to spend £50,000 on coronation celebrations for King Charles instead of helping foodbanks.

The council has been approached for comment.