BEACH hut owners have launched a campaign to save two public toilets used by the huge number of people who visit Calshot Spit.

Protesters say people will use the sea as a lavatory if New Forest District Council presses ahead with controversial plans to demolish the loos.

Calshot Spit is used by sailboarders, visitors to Calshot Castle and families who just want to relax on the beach.

The area is currently served by a public lavatory at the landward end of the Spit and a similar facility near Calshot Activities Centre.

Council chiefs are planning to replace the two loos with a single toilet in a more central location. But campaigners claim that people at either end of the long Spit will regard the new £200,000 convenience as too far to walk.

Protest leader Hilary Farr, of Rushing-ton Lane, Totton, said: "People caught short will either use the sea or go between the beach huts.

"It's taken years to get the sea as clean as it is now, but that could all be undone in one season."

Mrs Farr raised a petition with 361 signatures - all of which were collected on Calshot beach - and presented it to Fawley Parish Council. Eddie Holtham, chairman of the public services committee, told fellow councillors: "Hilary was so incensed at the district's decision to close the toilets that she chose to do something about it.

"Local sailboarders insisted on signing the petition because they of all people don't want the sea to become a toilet."

Mel Kendal, the district council's Cabinet member for the environment, said beach hut owners and the parish council would be consulted on the best location for the new convenience.

"It will be a bit further for some people, but a bit closer for others," he said.

"Several years ago the previous Liberal Democrat administration decided to close a public convenience near the beach at Milford and provide a new facility on the clifftop.

"I complained that people would foul the sea instead of embarking on a long climb, but my fears haven't been realised."