A Welsh seaside town plans to install public toilets with measures to prevent people having sex inside – including a squealing alarm, doors that shoot open and a chilly spray of water.
Porthcawl, on Wales’ southern coast, plans to replace its Griffin Park public toilets with models that deter “inappropriate sexual activity and vandalism,” as the Press Association reports. According to WalesOnline, the toilets will cost Porthcawl Town Council £170,000 (about $200,000), while users will pay an as yet undetermined fee to access them.
Movement sensors inside the toilets will respond to “violent” activity, while weight sensors will be installed to detect the entrance of more than one person, triggering the deterrent measures. The toilets have also been designed to prevent rough sleepers taking shelter inside: If a user remains in the toilet for too long, a warning message will play, while the lights and heating will switch off.
The planning documents also include a high pressure floor and wall washer, which could activate after every use of the toilet, or less frequently. An automated 10-minute “deep clean” process will take place every night.
Town council member Mike Clarke told WalesOnline, “Rebuilding the public toilets is an important element of Porthcawl Town Council’s ambition to ensure that Porthcawl is a great place to live, work and to visit.”
The toilets have already come under criticism on social media, however, with some calling them cruel and suggesting they could “humiliate” users.
“Weight sensitive floors to detect more than 1 user? What baseline weight are they using? I’m easily the weight of 2 teenagers! And what about people who need assistance? I have to go in with my kids,” one Twitter user responded.
Another wrote, “This is absolutely terrifying. I’m a disabled person who falls a lot and occasionally needs assistance. Am I going to have to need to start looking up whether I’ll be able to use public conveniences without violent and humiliating consequence, because of moral panic?”
“If someone’s homeless and desperate enough to sleep in public toilets, they need help, not technology to shoo them away,” a third tweeted.
The existing toilets will close for demolition in October, after which the new, high-tech facilities will be constructed.