Protesters have called for the city’s public toilets to be spared from cuts in the council’s budget.

Activists from the community union Acorn gathered outside Hove Town Hall ahead of a meeting of councillors to discuss the council’s spending plans for the year ahead.

While the council have backtracked on plans to close more than a dozen public toilets across the city, activists are concerned that the proposals could make their way back into the budget before it is passed later this month.

A spokeswoman for Acorn said: “This is an issue that affects residents across the city, including people with disabilities, the elderly, parents and children.

“We don’t think it is acceptable that these toilets have been on the agenda for budget cuts and we have been campaigning to stop this happening.

“The council have since backtracked on the plans, but we are concerned that it is not off the table until the budget is actually passed on the 23rd.

“We want commitments from the leaders of all parties that they will protect our toilets in the budget this year.

“There are decisions being made and those decisions should reflect the interests of people in the city.

“It’s all well and good to spend £25,000 on an art installation on the seafront, but we need to get our house in order first.

“Public toilets are a basic necessity - they shouldn’t be seen as a luxury and, if they’re spending all this money on other stuff, they’ve got their priorities wrong.”

Activist James Ferguson, who was dressed as a clown, was among the protesters and called on Brighton and Hove residents to “end the circus” and vote the Greens out of office at the next local election.

The Argus: James Ferguson attended the protest dressed as a clown and said the Green 'clowncil' must be voted outJames Ferguson attended the protest dressed as a clown and said the Green 'clowncil' must be voted out (Image: The Argus)

He said: “The Greens have absolutely ruined this city.

“They are a bunch of clowns running a circus and hopefully in May they will be gone.”

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said that the Green-led administration has been forced to take “extremely tough decisions” to deal with a multi-million-pound budget shortfall.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said: “This is one of the most difficult budgets the council has faced in my 12 years as a councillor and we’re doing everything we can to protect vital council services.

“We have invested more than £30 million in key services but very sadly have had to take extremely tough decisions on other areas of spending.

“We’ve been honest with the city by discussing the tough decisions and the complexity of the problems we face with our valued staff and trade unions, residents, partners, businesses and the city councillors from the other parties.”