Welcome to Lanark?

None of our Community Councillors, collectively or individually, tend to have organised surgeries, unlike our associate colleagues, the real Councillors in our local authority. As a Community Councillor, we find that our surgeries are with whoever we happen to meet and are held when and wherever we happen to meet them!

One such surgery took place recently when I met a lady as I made my way to my daughter’s house, where she was hosting a Rotary BBQ.

That day, this lady raised a couple of issues with me which were of concern to her and she was bang on the money with both, because both greatly concern the RBLCC also. One I’ll come back to on a later date, but the other I’ll mention here and now because it relates to the sort of mishap that is occurring ever more frequently in Lanark, particularly to the visitors we are at pains to encourage and to the detriment of our health and the good name of our town.

The lady standing in my al fresco surgery was very concerned and ashamed by the lack of toilet facilities in Lanark. The reason she was particularly irked that day was because the day before, as she left Morrison’s Supermarket, she occasioned to meet another lady who was not only a tourist – visiting the Royal and Ancient from the Yorkshire Dales no less! – but was one in dire need of “relief” from the pressure of a long day spent sampling the delights of the Royal and Ancient and its World Heritage Site, only to be caught short as she went in search of a sandwich!

No relief to be had in Morrisons of course, which does seem a bit miserly from such a prestigious and busy supermarket? By the time my Lanark lady met the Yorkshire lady, the latter had completed three high-speed laps around the former horse-market toilet in search of a way in.

If asked, South Lanarkshire Council will cheerfully advise that toilet facilities are readily available in Lanark at the Memorial Hall, Harry Smith Centre, SLLC Leisure Centre and Fawlty Towers etc, but being from Yorkshire, the dear lady didn’t know where these places are.

The Memorial Hall and the rest of the Council’s toilets are all signposted certainly, but the fact that they each contain a publicly accessible toilet is not. Ironically, the only public toilet clearly signposted in Lanark, points to the erstwhile Castlegate tardis, and which has long since been removed.

Even if she had known where the council toilets were, our tourist lady’s need by then was such that not even Usain Bolt could have reached the Council porcelain in time to avert disaster!

My imagination has been running riot as to how the poor tourist resolved the, or how and in what condition she finally did get back to civilisation in Yorkshire?

I’m only sure of one thing, though. She is never again likely to set foot in the Royal Burgh of Lanark and, if she ever posts her experience on social media, it will go viral and nobody else is ever likely to set foot in Lanark either!



Frank Gunning shares his views on various local issues in his Let's Be Frank column.