PLANS to remove public toilets from a Southampton supermarket due to "substance abuse" have been refused after waves of public anger.

In early September, Sainsbury's on Shirley High Street submitted an application to Southampton City Council to remove the public toilets.

They said that staff can "no longer manage" the facility due to fear of abusive behaviour and danger, as well as reports of substance abuse taking place in the stalls.

A statement in the application states: "In recent years, there has been a significant increase in anti-social behaviour associated with the use of the in-store toilet facilities in the Sainsbury’s store.

"This primarily relates to substance abuse and it has reached a level whereby the store’s colleagues can no longer manage the facility safely and without fear of abusive behaviour and danger."

But the closure has been refused by Southampton City Council following 30 letters of objection.

Mrs Nerissa Thompson said in a letter to the council: "As a mother of young children there is absolutely no way I can consider visiting Shirley without access to a public toilet.

"I'm sure I can speak on behalf of many other people who rely on these toilets when visiting Shirley. If these were to close then the Council have a responsibility to provide alternative public toilets."

In another objection letter, Ms Lorraine Buchan said: "Personally I haven't witnessed the anti social behaviour when using these toilets, however I'm sure it does go on - sadly.

"Sainsbury's need to step up and subcontract the cleaning and security of the toilets if they are unable to manage it themselves.

"If the council are to approve this variation in conditions then the council must make provision for public toilets, either directly controlled by the council or subcontracted to a private company."

The council announced the refusal on Thursday, October 21, and said the closure would result in "the permanent loss of valued public facilities".

The conclusion reads: "The closure of the toilets would result in the permanent loss of valued public facilities which were originally provided to replace the council public facilities conveniences on the Victor Street car park.

"These were closed and demolished as part of the redevelopment to provide the Sainsburys when the supermarket redevelopment of the land took place under planing permission.

"The loss of these public facilities would bring community disbenefits and undermine the vitality of the Shirley Town Centre."