Residents of an English town are being “terrorised” by their public toilet, it has emerged.
The automatic toilet in Woking town centre is said to have erratic cleaning patterns that can cause the cubicle door to open unexpectedly while the toilet is in use. And sometimes the cleaning cycle begins with the user still inside.
More than 400 people have signed a petition asking for the high-tech, push-button toilet to be removed. One woman reports becoming drenched after a robotic arm in the lavatory knocked her off the seat and started the cleaning cycle prematurely. Other users have complained about being exposed when the toilet door has opened unexpectedly.
The fact that the facility is in a conspicuous position – near a football pitch, yacht club and a junior cycling club – is said to make users feel even more vulnerable.
The toilet was installed around five years ago after a long campaign for a lavatory in the area, according to chairwoman of the local community association Irene Watson.
“It has an unpredictable cleaning system,” she said. “People are frightened of it going into a wash cycle and them not being able to get out. Also, the risk of the door opening unexpectedly while it is in use – and the toilet’s unisex nature and conspicuous position – puts people off visiting it.”
The council plans to move the toilet due to vandalism and under-use, but residents insist it needs replacing.