Councillor challenges south Essex children's centre plans

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CHILDREN’S centres in south Essex have a stay of execution.. for now.

On Tuesday, Essex County Council’s cabinet rubber stamped plans to scale back the hours at children’s centres, including six in Basildon.

County Hall’s proposals also include shutting down two more children’s centres and moving them into a former centre for problem teenagers – The Limes in New Century Road, Laindon.

In Castle Point, one centre – Little Treehouse, Benfleet – will close down, while four more will have their hours cut.

In Rochford, three centres will be scaled back.

However, Labour’s Pitsea county councillor Melissa McGeorge, has called in the decision. It will go to two scrunity committees, where Labour will put its case forward, before going to back to the county council’s cabinet, which will make the final decision.

Ms McGeorge said: “We’ve called it in because we think County Hall is relying on insufficient evidence in making the decision, because of the way services are mapped across the county.

“It has not made sure there is enough local access for families and its wrong to take away this service from people.

“By calling it in, it will mean at least we’ve done what we can.

Then it’s in County Hall’s hands.”

The county council’s proposals also include reducing the hours the Triangle Children’s Centre, in Ivron Hill Road, Wickford, to ten hours a week.

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