Backlash over child centres

Plans to concentrate Wyre's children's centres in one spot have been slammed by a renegade county councillor.

Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 7:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:52 pm
The Childrens Centre in Thornton

Andrea Kay is outraged at proposals to cut down to just one centre in Heys Road, Thornton.

She says moving services from Over Wyre simply will not work, with County Hall having axed subsidised bus services earlier this year.

She also says the site is too small and insists Lancashire County Council should look at putting more services into closure-threatened libraries instead.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Coun Andrea Kay

Coun Kay has previously spoken about her concerns to shut library branches in Thornton and Cleveleys.

And she is worried how residents will cope should children’s centre services be relocated.

She said: “I am concerned that Lancashire County Council is proposing to close Thornton and Cleveleys libraries and that the community have been working hard to try to save them both.

“Now Lancashire County Council is proposing to close Cleveleys, Hambleton, Poulton and Preesall children centres.

Coun Andrea Kay

“Residents who use these centres will be sign posted to use Thornton children centre at Heys Street.

“My problem with this is Lancashire County Council has removed bus services so local transport is an issue.”

Coun Kay is concerned residents will have to travel significant distances – much further than those considered reasonable by the council.

She said: “Officials have said 1.5 miles is an acceptable distance to travel.

“The distance from Cleveleys might possibly be 1.5 miles but from Preesall and Hambleton it is a lot further.

“Lancashire County Council is letting residents down and not listening.

“The children’s centres are for families with children and many do not have vehicles.

“Many families have more than one child and try to attend the centres while their other children are attending school.

“I feel that our residents will lose out.”

Lancashire County Council scrapped funding for the 86 bus service, which linked Knott End to Thornton, as part of a multi-million pound programme of cuts.

The county is currently consulting on another package of cuts which include the potential closure of more than 200 facilities across Lancashire.

A spokesman said: “The reason for holding the property review is to make sure that we have the buildings we need to provide good access to good services, with a significantly reduced budget.

“In forming the proposals, we’ve considered a wide range of issues to assess where services should be located, including how easily people can get to them.

“No decisions have yet been taken and we will take into account all issues raised during the consultation which ends this Sunday.”