CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to "continue to fight" after the city council confirmed it would keep a popular respite centre open.

Users of Kentish Road respite centre, a space which caters with those with complex disabilities and needs, have fought for more than a year to keep the facility open when Southampton City Council announced its decision to axe the service.

Lisa Stead, who along with Amanda Guest fronted the longstanding campaign, said that although she was "absolutely delighted" at the council's u-turn, which means the centre will stay open at weekends, the group would carry on battling until the facility is opened throughout the week.

She told the Daily Echo: "The fact that this facility will incorporate and allow emergency respite has put the minds of carers at rest.

"The main thing we were concerned about was not having this facility to support that medical need.

"It's a massive, massive win for us.

"The fact that the cabinet leader wants to work closely with myself and Amanda in looking at how the site can be used to maximum effect for people with learning disabilities is great.

"I think its refreshing to have a new leader that has a very modern outlook on social care and who has a sensitivity towards carers and people with disabilities."

Lisa added: "We always believed this moment would come and I said from day one, I would fight until I dropped dead - that's how passionate we were then and remain now."

Council leader Chris Hammond confirmed the decision at a cabinet meeting earlier this week, which went against a move made by former leader Simon Letts. Cllr Hammond, who had earlier voted for closure, also apologised to users of the centre, and admitted the previous decision to shut the centre last November was not the authority’s “finest hour”.

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.

Former Southampton Tory leader last night tweeted: "Delighted at this.

"It was an ill thought out decision that I spent 3 years fighting.

"There are opportunities to further develop Kentish Road to be a centre of excellence for services for learning disabled with other complimentary services alongside council run respite provision."