Suffolk

Suffolk Children's Centres: Nine closures agreed by council

The closure of nine of Suffolk's 47 children's centres has been agreed by Suffolk County Council's cabinet.

Ruling Conservatives said the closures were needed as part of £38.2m budget cuts it was looking to make this year.

The opposition Labour group said the loss of the children's centres would hit parents.

The Conservatives said the services would be provided in alternative buildings, such as libraries.

Plans to close the nine children's centres were announced last year.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Sea Breeze Children's Centre in Felixstowe is one of nine that will close

As part of the reorganisation, parents were told they could use other children's centres in the larger towns or services would be provided in buildings such as libraries, church halls and community centres.

Children's Centres to close:

  • Felixstowe - Sea Breeze
  • Glemsford - Woodlands
  • Hadleigh - Brett River
  • Haverhill- On Track
  • Ipswich - Meredith
  • Ipswich - Quayside
  • Lowestoft - Roman Hill
  • Reydon and Southwold
  • Thurston - Jigsaw

Shelly Darwin, a parent who uses Quayside in Ipswich, said: "They're planning on moving services to a local church and only 11 out of 50 parents who responded to the consultation said they would feel comfortable using a church setting."

Briony Rudkin, Labour county councillor, said: "There are times when buildings need to be reviewed, but in this case they're actually closing the services.

"That isn't fair to families - they haven't listened to the people they say they've consulted to reflect on what they're expecting young families to do."

The Conservatives said the buildings that were closing were often not fit for purpose.

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children's services, said: "We are wholeheartedly committed to making children centre services available to the people of Suffolk."

Labour said it would call in the children's centres decision for a meeting on 11 February, the day before the full council discussed the 2015-16 budget.

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