Search

Call for ‘shameful’ consultation over potential closure of Norfolk’s children’s centres to be suspended

Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council. Picture Archant.

Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council. Picture Archant.

Archant

The consultation over the potential closure of all but seven of Norfolk’s children’s centres is “shameful” and should be suspended, it has been claimed.

And opposition councillors have requested a special meeting of the children’s services committee over the issue.

Forty-six of Norfolk’s 53 children’s centres could be closed after council bosses revealed proposals for a review of the service.

Seven of the existing children’s centres would remain as bases in each district of the county.

Council bosses say it will bring services out of buildings and into the community.

But, with the funding to pay for those services being cut from £10m to £5m, critics are not convinced by the Conservative-run council’s claims that it will mean more support can be provided to children and families most in need and reach people who currently do not use services.

Consultation over the proposals is under way and will run until November 9.

And, at a meeting of County Hall’s policy and resources committee today, Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council sought permission to table a motion to suspend the consultation.

Raising it under local member issues, Mr Roper said: “My proposal is that the consultation is suspended and that it is rewritten to provide a more balanced and more accurate reflection of the council’s proposals.

“This consultation is shameful. It’s not a consultation.”

Council leader Andrew Proctor, as chairman of the policy and resources committee, had the say over whether motions could be tabled.

He said he was not prepared to accept Mr Roper’s motion, so the committee did not debate it.

The council says schools, village halls, libraries and other buildings would be used to provide the services people currently get at children’s centres.

But a cross-party call has been made for a special meeting of the children’s services committee. Labour and the Lib Dems want have requested the meeting because consultation started, without the committee’s knowledge or agreement.

Labour’s Mike Smith-Clare and Lib Dem Dr Edward Maxfield, said: “We remain deeply concerned that the proposals being consulted on bear little, if no resemblance to the consultation which took place during the budget considerations.

“We therefore believe that it is in the interests of Norfolk’s children and young people that a special meeting be convened in order to resolve these and other constitutional concerns.”

The council stresses, despite the budget specifically to run children’s centres will be halved, it is just one element of a wider programme of transforming children’s services which has seen millions of pounds of investment.

The impact on the staff who work in the children’s centres is not yet clear, but officers gave a pledge that front-line services would be protected.

The consultation is at www.norfolk.gov.uk/childrenscentres

Other News

Yesterday, 23:30

The fire service drone has been used to help in the search of a missing person near Great Yarmouth.

Yesterday, 19:11

‘It’s just lucky no-one was hurt’ - that is the message after a bus shelter close to a pub in Caister was flattened by a lorry that had been turning around.

Yesterday, 14:03

A man who fought testicular cancer has walked a gruelling 60km with a ball and chain to demonstrate the mental strain of fighting the illness.

Yesterday, 17:34

People who have used mechanical diggers to take “significant” amounts of sand and relocate sea defence blocks on Hemsby beach have been ordered to stop.

Most Read

Wed, 12:29

Police are appealing for help to trace a woman following a theft in Great Yarmouth.

Read more
Tue, 13:10

The man who was killed in a fatal stabbing in Great Yarmouth has been named.

Read more
Norwich Magistrates Court
Thu, 14:16

A young girl left severely disabled after mistakes were made during her birth at a Norfolk hospital will receive an extra £600,000 in damages.

Read more
Wed, 12:20

Residents in Great Yarmouth will be able to enjoy having their favourite fast food orders delivered right to their doorstep thanks to a new delivery service.

Read more
Norwich
Wed, 14:51

Homes are going up on a pub’s garden as it looks for ways to thrive.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy