CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating victory in their battle to save the public toilets on two Hampshire beaches.

New Forest District Council has done a U-turn following a public outcry that greeted proposals to demolish the conveniences at Calshot and Barton on Sea.

The facilities have been closed since the start of the pandemic, resulting in people using the beaches instead.

Now the Tory-run council has confirmed it will reopen the Barton toilets by Easter and the Calshot ones by April 12.

The authority had previously said it would be impossible to make toilets Covid-safe.

Announcing its change of heart a council spokesperson said: "We have looked at the latest government guidance around safely reopening public toilets.

"We listened to public concerns and have re-assessed the buildings to see what work is needed to get them to the acceptable standard.

"A big focus is on natural ventilation and we will install more air bricks and are reconfiguring the toilets so that social distancing is possible."

Cllr Alex Wade, a member of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, said: "There was plenty of pushback on the proposal and I welcome the decision to maintain the toilets and carry out improvements to the buildings.

"Clearly the council listened to local residents and have wisely considered to U-turn on the original suggestion."

A fellow Lib Dem, Cllr Jack Davies, added: "I was pleased to be part of the committee which decided to keep these important facilities.

"I can’t believe the council even thought about closing them in the first place - shows you how important public opinion is."

People who fought to save the Calshot toilets included a member of the ruling Tory group, Cllr Alexis McEvoy.

She said: "I called the council to account over the closure proposal, which I found unacceptable."

A reported in the Daily Echo more than 6,500 people signed online petitions launched to save the Barton and Calshot toilets.

The Calshot petition said: "NFDC states there is another public convenience 660 metres away and claims there is easy access via walking or parking.

"While that may just about be true on a dull, cool day in February it certainly is not so on a busy, sunny day in summer."