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Fate of female voice in public loos of UK town to be decided next month

August 14, 2011 - London

The long-standing debate over a female voice welcoming people to public toilets in Church Stretton, Shropshire, is finally about to end, with the town council set to decide whether to retain the voice, change it to a man's voice or silence it, next month.

Once inside each of the two lavatories next to an adjoining male urinal, the automated voice warns: "The time for the use of this facility is limited. You will be advised when to leave", reports the Daily Mail.

But even after 15 minutes, when visitors might reasonably expect a timed automated request to leave, the music, including Charlie Pride's 'When We Get Behind Closed Doors', 'Walking After Midnight' by Patsy Kline and the Fats Domino hit 'Blueberry Hill' keeps on playing.

And the graffiti-resistant, seat-less, stainless-steel loos flush automatically once the door is unlocked.

Church Stretton council clerk Christine Harvey said the voice would be simple to turn off but some felt it deterred people from taking too long.

The toilet block was refurbished five years ago and was voted Best Unattended Toilet in the 2006 Loo of the Year Awards. The town council took over control of the toilets from South Shropshire District Council in April.

Resident Alan Causon, 73, said: 'I wrote to the council complaining when they put up these toilets. The old ones were fine but they spent over a year on their renovations and left us with these ghastly Euro loos.

Peter Mathews, a retired lecturer from Warrington, said: "I think it is a measure of one's desperation. If you are so put off by the female voice then perhaps you don't really need to go that badly."


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