Four public toilet blocks used by hundreds of runners each weekend will be closed if plans go ahead.

The facilities in Hove Park, Preston Park, Hove Promenade and East Brighton Park are well used every Saturday during the Parkrun events, which all begin at 9am.

Parkruns are weekly, timed 5km runs which take place across the country. They are operated by volunteers and have grown in popularity in recent years.

All the toilets currently open at 8am but Brighton and Hove City Council wants to push this back to 10am, meaning the runners will not be able to use them.

The council says the new opening times will save money as it will allow it to operate single, day-time staff shifts for employees to run them.

But one councillor has called the plans “vicious”.

“I am appalled at Labour’s proposal to restrict toilet opening hours in our main parks and along the promenade,” said Councillor Ivan Lyons.

The Argus: The toilets on Hove Promenade are among those used by runnersThe toilets on Hove Promenade are among those used by runners (Image: The Argus)

“Not only will this affect runners but also residents and visitors to our city. As a regular park runner myself, I see queues for the toilets before the events.

“If the loos are not open, where will people go? The bushes? On the beach? If Labour proceeds with this vicious proposal, Parkrun will have no other option than to cease a free and enjoyable facility for all.”

Cllr Lyons said that each weekend Hove Park averages 337 runners, Preston Park 392, Hove Promenade 343 and East Brighton 68.

“This is a total of 1,140 runners on average every Saturday who will have no toilet facilities,” he said.

The Argus: The Preston Park event is now in its 11th yearThe Preston Park event is now in its 11th year (Image: The Argus)

“Furthermore, there are junior park runs for children aged four to 14 on a Sunday morning at Hove Park and Preston Park that attract more than 100 runners every week each.

“Labour are being cruel and clearly have little interest in the welfare of its residents. We will fervently be opposing their toilet closure restriction times.”

The council said it will do it all it can to keep the toilets open.

Leader Bella Sankey said: “Parkrun makes a huge contribution to health and wellbeing in the city. We value this very highly and want to support them.

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“We are committed to working with Parkrun to ensure that toilets are open for them and are looking at our overall operating model to see how this can best be achieved.

The Argus: Councillors Tim Rowkins, Bella Sankey, Birgid Miller and David McCgregor at the Preston Park event last yearCouncillors Tim Rowkins, Bella Sankey, Birgid Miller and David McCgregor at the Preston Park event last year (Image: Cllr Sankey)

“We are committed to maintaining and improving public toilet facilities across the city as a whole. This will be difficult in the current financial climate, but I believe it’s achievable.

“The council is facing its worst ever financial crisis. We have to make cuts of more than £30 million for next year starting in April to avoid bankruptcy."

Keen runner Cllr Sankey, along with 13 other councillors and an MP, was pictured at the Preston Park event on September 16.