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A Burntwood councillor says she is “devastated” at the prospect of the town losing both of its children’s centres.
The Sure Start facilities at Springhill and Boney Hay could be axed if recommendations are approved at a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet next week.
But Cllr Sue Woodward believes such a move would be “unacceptable”. She said: “Given both the levels of disadvantage in the town – particularly in the wards of Boney Hay and Chasetown – and high levels of family breakdown, the centres have proven their worth in supporting children, families and professionals and I feel that it is unacceptable that both centres should close.
“Closure of the centres can only make this worse and families are highly unlikely to travel to the Lichfield or Cannock sites.
“Moreover, our primary health care facilities at the town are completely inadequate and I believe it will prove impossible to relocate services in our health centres. “
The news comes on the back of a recent decision not to fund a new health centre in Burntwood.
And she has warned that the town’s residents are getting a raw deal once more.
Important local services
“I am devastated that, yet again, Burntwood and its residents are losing out,” she said. “We have had plans for our health centre scrapped, the Skills Centre is currently mothballed, our youth centre has closed, Greenwood House still stands empty and now both of our Sure Start Children’s Centres are to close.
“The nearest centres will be in Cannock and Lichfield so how on earth are local families going to get there, given how poorly we’re served by public transport?
“The Tories at Staffordshire County Council argue that the Centres weren’t working as effectively as they might but what on earth have they been doing over the last five years that they have been in control to make them more effective?
“Surely they could and should have worked on improving these important local services rather than axing them.”
Cllr Woodward is now calling for an urgent meeting to discuss future provision for Burntwood.
She added: “For me, this is not just my concerns as a local representative – it’s personal. My new grandson was born just before Christmas. Why should he, my daughter, my son-in-law and his big sister lose out as a young family because the County Council is turning its back on our town?”