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Antisocial behaviour forces closure of two facilities

The waiting area at Kirkwall Travel Centre is now closed as CCTV is installed in a crack down on antisocial behaviour.

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) say they will work alongside police to “stamp out” the “intolerable” behaviour which has caused two public facilities to shut.

The decision to close the waiting area at Kirkwall Travel Centre and the male toilets at Ferry Road in Stromness has not been taken lightly, say OIC.

However, the ongoing antisocial behaviour, vandalism and graffiti which has blighted the two sites has left the authority with little option.

Both matters have been reported to police and investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrators.

As a result, CCTV is to be installed inside and outside the waiting area at Kirkwall Travel Centre, and the facility will remain closed until the installation takes place.

OIC transport manager Laura Cromarty said: “We are very reluctant to close the building to the public however we have been left with very little option due to the ongoing anti-social behaviour by groups of youths at the area now for several months.

“This has included inappropriate and abusive language and disrespect to genuine users of the facility, a failure to respect the wearing of masks when required, littering and the verbal abuse of a member of staff.

“We will be purchasing CCTV equipment to monitor the inside of the building as well as outside. The police are happy to support us by monitoring the cameras when in place. We would look to open the building again once the equipment is in place.”

The bus timetables will be displayed on the Travel Centre windows and at the bus shelters.

The timetables are also available to view online. Any queries can be directed to the transportation service at transport@orkney.gov.uk.

The male toilets at Ferry Road in Stromness are also not available for use due to a significant amount of spray-painted graffiti which will require refurbishment.

A number of public toilets have been targeted by vandals in recent weeks and this led to an earlier warning from OIC of possible closures.

OIC’s head of IT and facilities, Hayley Green, said: “We are very disappointed to have to close one of our public toilets, particularly as many have only recently reopened following COVID-19 Scottish Government guidance, but we simply have no choice on this occasion.

“We do apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to people who rely on these facilities.

“We would continue to ask members of the public to respect property belonging to others and which is there for the benefit of all.”

OIC’s chair of development and infrastructure committee, Councillor Graham Sinclair, added: “It is disheartening to have to take these difficult decisions when we know it is going to affect so many genuine users of the facilities.

“There are also cost implications in the additional and sometimes unpleasant cleaning which requires to be carried out by staff and with fixtures and fittings requiring to be replaced.

“We will be working alongside Kirkwall Police in a bid to identify the perpetrators and stamp out this kind of intolerable behaviour for which Orkney is not known for as a rule.”

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