11th hour bid to save children’s centre snubbed
ACHILDREN’S centre will close after councillors snubbed a last-ditch bid to save it.
Councillors at Cheshire East’s full council meeting voted to approve the budget which includes plans to close Broken Cross Children’s Centre and three more of the borough’s 11 children’s centres in a bid to save £500,000.
It came after Labour lost a proposal made at the meeting to amend the budget and use £500,000 of government funding to reverse the plan to close the centres.
The money would have come from a £6m pot of ‘transitional funding’ the government is giving the council as part of a package for councils to ease the effects of funding cuts.
Coun Sam Corcoran, who proposed the amendment, said children’s centres provide a place for young families to gather and support each other.
Other councillors made passionate statements about how vital the cen- tres are. Coun Alift Harewood, for Macclesfield West and Ivy, said: “I’m against making such a small saving by closing children’s centres which benefit our most vulnerable people.”
Coun Arthur Moran, an independent councillor for Nantwich North and West, made a plea to Conservative councillors to vote for the amendment.
He said: “I ask you to put party politics aside, vote with your conscience and put children and young families first.”
But all but two Conservative councillors voted against the amendment, leaving a result of 40 councillors against, 30 in favour and eight choosing not to vote.
This means the budget goes ahead as planned and the children’s centres will close, to be replaced by a new mobile service instead.
Parents in need of advice and support in the Weston, Upton Priory and Broken Cross will have to attend either Hurdsfield or Ash Grove children centres or use the mobile service.
A campaign is underway in Macclesfield to keep the centre open.
New council leader Rachel Bailey, who was elected at the meeting, insisted the proposals are not about closures, but about ‘re-designating’ the service.
She said: “The service will be delivered in a different way rather than let the centre wither on the vine as footfall further reduces.”
●● Efforts to save Broken Cross Children’s centre were in vain
●● Bunny brothers Christian Grey (left) and Jason Taylor