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Echo flushed with success in city toilets battle

A south-coast daily has won its fight to save local amenities from closure less than a fortnight after launching a campaign on the issue.

The Express and Echo went into battle to save ten of Exeter’s 26 public toilets from closure after the city council announced plans to shut the facilities in an attempt to shave £60,000 off its annual budget.

The Echo’s office was deluged with protests from readers after it printed coupons in the paper for locals to sign and send back by way of protest over the plans.

It was backed by British Toilet Association director Mike Bone who is spearheading a nationwide protest against the closure of public conveniences which is being supported by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

Five days after ‘Save Our Toilets’ was launched on 21 January, a city council committee approved the closure proposals.

But in the face of mounting pressure from the Echo and its readers, the leader of the ruling Lib Dem party announced a U-turn at the start of this week.

Coun Adrian Fullam said: “We have listened to feedback from residents in the Echo, on websites and those who have contacted us directly.

“If we did not make the right decision the first time round it is only right we should change our minds.”

Editor Marc Astley said: “Once again Echo readers have responded magnificently to a campaign that will genuinely make a difference to people’s lives.

“These closures would have hit the most vulnerable in our community and we felt duty bound to fight the city council on their behalf.”

Martyn Rogers, director of Age Concern in Exeter, added: “It is really great news the city council has listened to the concerns of the citizens of Exeter who responded in their hundreds. Well done to the Echo.”