CAMPAIGNERS have been given fresh hope in the battle to save an axed respite centre.

Talks are underway about the possibility of reopening Kentish Road Respite Centre in Shirley - three months after civic chiefs voted to shut the facility.

But the centre, which was controversially axed in November, will only be reopened on weekends.

And it will only be a temporary measure while civic chiefs look for a permanent solution for the service – used by people with disabilities and illnesses to give carers a break.

This could include the centre being run by a charity or care provider.

Lisa Stead, whose son Harrison previously used Kentish Road, said she was "ecstatic" with the news.

"It's absolutely brilliant because we've been continually trying to get the centre reopened," she said.

"We've been fighting, we've never stopped and we've never been prepared to give up.

"We've always said that closing the centre was the wrong decision."

City council leader Simon Letts confirmed talks were underway to reopen the centre, in an email to Ms Stead.

In the email, the Labour chief said the council would look to reopen part of the Kentish Road centre as a weekend-only facility.

Councillors Letts said the service would be run in the same way as the authority's proposed 32B Kentish Road Centre – a smaller annexed service put forward as part of plans to close the original centre.

He said the new proposal was a "temporary measure" and the council would look into bringing in a provider to potentially run a full respite service in the future.

Ms Stead said: "Carers need this service.

"The council offered us Rose Road as an alternative but it's already rammed.

"Since Kentish Road closed in November I've had four days of respite and I'm meant to have seven every month.

"It has had a real impact on the mental and physical health of all the carers."

Conservative opposition leader, Jeremy Moulton, praised the decision, but described it as "just the start".

He also promised to spend £250,000 on refurbing the original Kentish Road building if his party are elected in May's elections.

Once completed, he said the respite service could be run by a charity.

As previously reported in the Echo, the decision to close Kentish Road was initially announced in 2015, following a 12-week consultation with carers.

At the time, the authority said it would save £300,000 from the closure – though this figure has been questioned by carers and opposition Conservative councillors.

The closure was delayed until April last year, when the council sent out a letter confirming its intention to shut the centre.

This sparked a petition by carers Amanda Guest and Lisa Stead, who gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

The pair led a prolonged campaign against the closure, even marching through the streets of Southampton in protest at the decision.

Service users also showered Labour cabinet members with fake money following a debate at full council.

Despite their protests, Kentish Road Respite Centre was closed in November after a vote by the council's Labour cabinet.