CAMPAIGNERS battling to save public toilets in Bingley, Shipley and the St Ives beauty spot have been offered a glimmer of hope.

The groups descended on a meeting of Bradford Council yesterday to present three petitions, each signed by thousands of people, calling for a re-think on plans to axe the loos.

The move had been included in a cost-cutting budget set earlier this year.

Yesterday, Councillor Andrew Thornton, executive member for the environment, pledged to keep exploring alternatives to the closures, but warned money was tight.

Terry Brown, vice-chairman of Bingley Civic Trust, said: "The closure will have a huge negative impact on our community and will be detrimental to efforts to regenerate our town."

Barry Cooper, chairman of Shipley Town Centre Business Partnership, said Shipley's loos were used 42,500 times a year, and accused the authority of a "bias against small towns".

He said Shipley bus and train stations didn't have public toilets so passengers would be left with no toilet facilities at all.

And Pam Laking, of the Friends of St Ives, said they had collected more than 2,500 signatures on their petition.

She said they had only found out about the closure plan by chance.

She said: "We actually did not know anything about the toilets being closed until a chance remark from an officer in the parks and landscape team about six weeks ago.

Cllr Thornton said while a decision over the budget had been taken, the savings wouldn't come into effect until April 2015, which gave them time to explore alternative ideas.

He said: "The budget decision wasn't the end of the road. Dialogue is ongoing."

He said the authority wanted to build up a dialogue with residents' groups, parish and town councils and other interested bodies about "finding alternatives and other mitigations".

Cllr Thornton said decisions over how the public toilet budgets was now a matter for the council's five area committees.

But he added; "We do hope to offer at least some room for manoeuvre to the committees on these budget decisions."

Cllr Thornton said they hoped to give the area committees "as much latitude as we can" to find ways of using their limited budgets to save as much of the public toilet service as possible.

He said: "The difficulty we have, of course, is the really difficult budget position we find ourselves in."