A lifeline has been thrown to a threatened nursery after pleas from parents and children.

Last night, opposition councillors halted the Tory administration's proposals to close Bright Start nursery at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council.

The plan would have saved £87,000.

The nursery's future will now be decided by a group of councillors, parents and staff.

Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors united to support a motion by Green councillor Lizzie Deane to recognise the strength of feeling over the nursery.

More than 100 people protested before the meeting to show their opposition.

A petition with more than 5,000 signatures was also presented.

Conservative council leader Mary Mears suggested a new consultation on the prospect of allowing parents and staff to run the nursery.

Coun Mears said: "It is not fair to let Bright Start carry on in the same way. It is not fair to the vast majority of parents whose children go to a nursery which does not receive a subsidy and it is not fair to the taxpayers who fund it."

But parents in the packed public gallery were not in favour of the scheme.

Anne Wright said: "The people who use Bright Start are busy enough already. It is difficult to juggle young children and a career, without having to run the country as well."

Juliet Bruce, an employee at the centre and a parent, said: "It is important the nursery is run by the council because we don't want it to be profit-orientated."

A report on the future of the centre will be brought to a cabinet member meeting on January 17.

Coun Deane said: "It's a very good start but we are not out of the woods yet.

"We have recognised the strong feelings of the parents and staff that this is a viable nursery which has a real future."