Children centres’consultation closes

Protest outside County Hall.
Protest outside County Hall.

A public consultation on the future of children’s centres around the district has closed.

Wakefield Council sought people’s views on a controversial shake-up which would see some centres close.

Under the proposals, the district’s 23 children’s centres would be centralised into six main hubs and three “linked sites”, offering extra support in deprived areas.

The plan sparked outrage among families who feared losing their centres.

But Wakefield Council, which is faced with £185m of budget cuts in the next five years, said the plan would help provide more support for the district’s most vulnerable families.

Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls said: “In difficult economic times, with budgets extremely stretched, I fully understand and appreciate the need for local authorities to make savings.

“And of course some children’s centres are better than others and there are always ways in which centres can be improved.

“However, our children’s centres are a precious resource, a safe place for parents, the loss of which could affect generations of parents and children.”

Wakefield Council was analysing the results of the public consultation.

A decision is expected on the future of the centres around the end of November.