Lib Dem councillors slam changes to children's centres

November 1, 2013 12:49 PM

Sad child

Tories are planning to shut children's centre

Brentwood County Councillors David Kendall and Barry Aspinell have slammed the proposed changes Tory controlled Essex County Council plan to make to the Childrens Centres operating in the Borough and across Essex.
The changes in Brentwood are as follows:
The Ark Children's Centre based at Becket Keys School in Sawyers Hall Lane will be closed and it will merge with the Larchwood Gardens Children's Centre in Pilgrims Hatch. The County may continue to provide services from the outreach sites to meet local need to minimise the effects of closing the childrens centre but this still has to be decided.
Cherry Tree Children's Centre in Knights Way will see it's operating hours cut from 40 hours down to 15 hours and the telephone service which was 10 hours will be stopped completely.
Sunshine Children's Centre which is based in Shenfield Library will see it's operating hours cut from 40 hours down to 5 hours and the telephone service which was 10 hours will be stopped completely.
David Kendall, Lib Dem County Councillor for Brentwood South, said:
"I am totally opposed to these changes which will have a major impact on childrens services in Brentwood and will cause alot of upset and concern for a number of local families. The closing of the Ark Centre in the middle of Brentwood and the major reduction in the operating hours at the Cherry Tree Centre in Knights Way and the Sunshine Centre in Shenfield Library are in my view a disgrace and I am calling for these decisions to be urgently reconsidered. Not only are the County Council closing centres and reducing operating hours they are also taking away the telephone service aswell leaving many vulnerable families with very little support at all.
"The Tories running Essex County Council should be ashamed of themselves. Brentwood residents paid over £33 million to Essex County Council in Council tax last year and it is time we had more of that money spent on providing important services like this in our Borough."