Construction is set to begin this week on a set of toilets that in place of specifying text, will instead have images of a man, woman and child fitted to the toilet doors. The refurbishment of the toilets in Rottingdean seafront in Brighton will clock in at around £140,000, and is jointly funded by Rottingdean parish council and the city council.

A city council spokesman said: “When producing signs for public toilets in the city we use standard images rather than words. This is beneficial to the many tourists from overseas visiting our city.”

Brighton’s gay, lesbian and transgender population number an estimated 40,000, with 5 per cent of residents identifying themselves as transgender, according to a 2006 survey. Still, the measure has its critics.

This does seem to be a case of unnecessary bureaucracy and political correctness,” said Tory councillor Lynda Hyde. “Local residents, particularly women with children, would much prefer to use separate facilities as, apart from anything else, it is safer.”