Campaigners fight cuts plan

FEARS: Coun Khizar Iqbal and parents in Thornhill Lees are worried about proposed changes to their children's centre. (d05011201)
FEARS: Coun Khizar Iqbal and parents in Thornhill Lees are worried about proposed changes to their children's centre. (d05011201)
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PARENTS worried about cuts at children’s centres are mounting campaigns to fight the proposals.

Concerns have been raised about Kirklees Council’s plan to link the SureStart centre in Thornhill Lees with the centre in Savile Town.

This would see reduced services in Thornhill Lees, with Savile Town as the ‘lead’ centre in a partnership.

Also under the plan, the centre in Ravensthorpe would become a lead centre with Mirfield as an associate centre, and the Edge Lane and Edge Top Road centres in Thornhill would become lead centres with Denby Dale and Skelmanthorpe, and Kirkburton and Grange Moor as associates.

Coun Khizar Iqbal (Con, Dews South) said: “There is going to be a campaign to oppose what Kirklees is doing.

“What has come out of initial meetings with parents is a feeling that is very, very strong.”

Across Kirklees, the council is proposing to split the 32 existing SureStart centres into 15 lead centres and 17 associate centres.

Consultation on the plan ends on Friday January 20.

Parents are also worried about proposed changes to nursery services at three children’s centres.

The nursery at the centre in Edge Top Road is currently run by the council through SureStart, but a new plan would hand control over to Overthorpe School. It would also see provision for children aged up to two-years-old cut.

A campaign group, Save Our SureStart, has been set up to fight the proposals.

Chairwoman Emily Lenihan said parents feared that schools would be unable to match current provision.

According to a council report, the daycare proposals for Thornhill would save Kirklees £105,300 by 2014.

A council spokesman said: “The changes being planned do not amount to the closure of these nurseries and there will be minimal impact on the children who currently attend them.”

He said schools would be able to provide the same levels of care.

The council has also stressed that no decisions had yet been made on which children’s centres would become lead centres, and associate centres.

The spokesman said there were no plans to close any children’s centres and that decisions would only be made after consultation.