The decision to replace 35 children’s centres around Bucks has been halted after councillors called in the plans.
The “vital” centres were set to be replaced with nine hubs after new proposals were given the green light last week by Bucks County Council – but the plans will now be put on hold while they are re-reviewed.
East Wycombe Independent Cllr Julia Wassell, the ward member for Ryemead and Micklefield, challenged the council’s decision, saying: “I strongly believe that not all the relevant matters were taken into account in reaching the decision as a number of issues have since come to light.”
More than 2,000 people had their say in a consultation, which ran for three months and had to be extended after it received thousands of responses.
The team bases are proposed to be at seven of the existing children’s centres along with the remaining two areas – Quarrendon and Buckingham – currently being assessed for “appropriate locations”.
Council bosses said the future of the remaining 28 buildings will be decided with local communities, schools and early years providers.
Speaking to the Bucks Free Press, Cllr Wassell said the consultation was “flawed” and “inadequate”, and that she and three other councillors – Chaudhary Ditta, Martin Farrow and Niknam Hussain – were unhappy about the decision.
She added that if the county council did not know what it was going to do with the remaining 28 children’s centres, it should not have consulted with the public.
She said: “The future use of the premises should have been discussed prior to the consultation and the public and local councillors should have been consulted in advance.
“The public pay their council tax and deserve services, and if they are going to be consulted about any changes they should have the full facts and details.”
The controversial plans were slammed by campaigners who protested against the closures, with one parent saying the centres offered “much needed practical and emotional support for parents”.
Cllr Wassell will take a presentation to the children’s select committee with three witnesses at a yet-undecided date.
For more details, visit democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=6946.
Source: Local Bucks