Neighbours came out in protest when workmen arrived to demolish an art deco bus shelter in Ovingdean.

They said the shelter outside their homes was a work of art and should be preserved.

The shelter in Ainsworth Avenue is to be replaced by an advertising one from the company Adshel.

The work is being undertaken by Brighton and Hove City Council as part of a policy to make bus shelters safer and smarter.

However, residents in the street said they preferred the art deco shelters and did not want them replaced by plastic ones.

David Burgess, of Longhill Avenue, Ovingdean, was horrified when he saw the demolition crew arrive yesterday.

He said: "I thought these shelters were safe because they were only painted and the glass repaired about ten months ago."

Mr Burgess, who runs the George Street Gallery in Kemp Town, Brighton, has lived in Longhill Avenue for about a year.

He said: "I thought they were such beautiful art deco structures. They should have been listed. This is total desecration. It's vandalism.

"There haven't been any problems with them so I don't know why they are demolishing them to replace them with these plastic shelters."

Cathy Taylor, of Ainsworth Close, is a member of Ovingdean Preservation Society.

She said: "This is an art deco rendered shelter and there is nothing wrong with it. We think it seems silly to replace it.

"I hear from people where these new glass shelters have been built that they are vandalised all the time."

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: "We are gradually replacing all the old bus shelters with modern ones under an agreement with Adshel. This is at no cost to council taxpayers.

"The shelters we are replacing are not historic. We have retained some, such as ones at Old Steine, together with the old tram shelters.

"New shelters come with lighting and seating, making them safer. They are also better maintained."