Anger over plans to close chil­dren’s cen­tre

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

PLANS by coun­cil chiefs to axe a chil­dren’s cen­tre to save money have been slammed as ‘short­sighted’.

Cheshire East Coun­cil wants to shut four of its 11 chil­dren’s cen­tres, in­clud­ing one in Bro­ken Cross.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers say this will lead to a to­tal sav­ing of £500,000 op­er­a­tional costs, with the clo­sure of Bro­ken Cross Chil­dren’s Cen­tre sav­ing £40,000.

But Coun Nick Man­nion, who rep­re­sents Mac­cles­field West and Ivy ward, said the ser­vice is vi­tal and the money should be saved else- where.

He said: “Surely the £40,000 - which is less than £800 a week - could be found some­where else in the bud­get.

“Com­pared to the an­nual bud­get of hun­dreds of mil­lions it’s a drop in the ocean.

“What wor­ries me is that the vi­tal work done at Bro­ken Cross in terms of par­ent­ing and health ad­vice is an in­vest­ment in the fu­ture of our chil­dren and the short-sighted de­ci­sion to axe it will cost pub­lic ser­vices a lot more in the fu­ture.”

Bro­ken Cross Chil­dren’s Cen­tre has an­nual op­er­at­ing costs of £40,000 and spends £198,000 a year on staff, who will all be rede- ployed to other chil­dren cen­tres as part of the pro­pos­als.

Par­ents

in need

of ad­vice and sup­port in the We­ston, Up­ton Pri­ory and Bro­ken Cross ar­eas will have to at­tend ei­ther Hurds­field or Ash Grove chil­dren cen­tres, or use a new mo­bile ser­vice.

The three other chil­dren’s cen­tres fac­ing the axe are in Knutsford, Nantwich Ru­ral and Sand­bach.

A coun­cil spokesman said the coun­cil will con­tinue to pay more than £526,000 to run the chil­drens cen­tres at Ash Grove and Hurds­field, and said there are no plans to sell the build­ing at Bro­ken Cross.

He added: “If the pro­pos­als that are cur­rently sub­ject to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion are agreed by Coun­cil, then the economies the Coun­cil could achieve over­all would be in the or­der of £500,000.

“Sav­ings would be achieved in a num­ber of ways, in­clud­ing man­age­ment and back of­fice staff re­duc­tions.”

The coun­cil is con­sult­ing on the pro­pos­als un­til Fe­bru­ary 12. A pe­ti­tion to save the cen­tre, launched ear­lier this month, has 729 sup­port­ers, while a Face­book group ‘Save Bro­ken Cross chil­drens cen­tre’ has 1,500 mem­bers.

To have your say visit the coun­cil web­site, email com­ments to RandC@ cheshireeast.gov.uk or write to Re­search and Con­sul­ta­tion, Cheshire East Coun­cil, West­fields, Sand­bach, CW11 1HZ.

●● Bro­ken Cross Chil­drens cen­tre on Par­kett Heyes road Mac­cles­field

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