Debate called on nurseries closure ruling

A protest outside Grange Park Sure Start Centre against the closure of the nursery
A protest outside Grange Park Sure Start Centre against the closure of the nursery
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Controversial plans to close two Blackpool nurseries are to be challenged in the council chamber.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, has ‘called in’ the decision to close the last two council run nurseries in the town with the loss of 26 jobs.

Tony Williams

Tony Williams

Parents have launched a campaign to save the childcare facilities at Grange Park and Talbot and Brunswick Sure Start centres.

The council is proposing to close them to make savings of £250,000, and says it will assist families in finding alternative nursery places.

Coun Williams said: “This council is extremely quick to blame all their unpopular decisions on the austerity cuts but really it’s their decision where they choose to spend our money and also where they decide to make the savings.

“I think the people of Blackpool will be quite rightly annoyed at seeing the loss of an important children’s facility when this council continue to pour vast amounts of money on seemingly wasteful and pointless projects.

“The private sector offer a superb nursery service, but council run nurseries employ more staff per child so they are better placed at providing for special needs or vulnerable children.

“This Sure Start nursery is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and was heralded as an important facility for the future of young people in Blackpool when it was opened by Gordon Marsden MP 14 years ago.

“I want the council to find the savings in other less essential areas and not use a political excuse to manipulate their own agenda.”

A scrutiny committee will now be held where councillors can call for the decision to be reconsidered.

Hundreds of people have signed petitions calling for the nurseries to stay open, and two demonstrations have been held this week.

Parents say they cannot travel to other nurseries, that their children have benefited from the skills of the council nursery staff and that they will no longer be able to take part in courses at the Sure Start centres if childcare is no longer offered.