Anger over plans to close children’s centre
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.
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