WHAT a relief. Hart Council has ditched its plans to close the public loos in Fleet and three villages.

The council's Tory-dominated cabinet has done a u-turn and stumped up £54,200 to keep the lavatories open for the next nine months.

But protesters shouldn't feel too flushed with success, because the loos could be under threat again at the end of that period. The council, which is desperate to rid itself of the cost of running the toilets, is continuing to press the parish councils at Odiham, Hook and Hartley Wintney to take on the job. It is also investigating to see how much private companies would charge to modernise and maintain the two public lavatories in Fleet. And it is exploring the possibility of reducing maintenance costs by replacing the existing brick-built loos with a prefabricated type. Council leader Lorraine Fullbrook said: "We are actively looking for more affordable ways of providing these facilities."