Cabinet set to decide on children’s centre

GV of Daventry East Children Centre on Benbow Close, under threat from closure
GV of Daventry East Children Centre on Benbow Close, under threat from closure

Cabinet members at Northamptonshire County Council are to meet to discuss a recommendation to close Daventry East children’s centre.

This follows a six-week consultation of residents and over 50 voluntary organisations revealing significant opposition to the move.

The council recommended the closure of the children’s centre,located on the Southbrook, following a shake up of the provision of childcare services which saw charity Action for Children take on running the centre, which caters for children aged up to four years old.

Action for Children wants to stop using the centre and instead provide the services at a number of other venues, including the town centre library and leisure centre.

The report, which will go before cabinet Tuesday, says: “This proposal is based on their [Action for Children] strongly held view that the building is not fit for purpose and will not enable effective delivery of children’s centre services under the new contract and delivery model.”

Concerns have been raised over the quality of the building, which was originally converted from three individual flats.

There is little natural light, and limited disabled access, and the county council considers the building a financial liability should a new lease have to be arranged with Daventry District Housing, which owns the site.

But some Southbrook residents have defended the existing building, arguing its closure would increase the burden on parents without transport, who would have to use facilities in the town centre.

Residents also fear closure could cause further social isolation for Southbrook, which is considered by Daventry District Council to be an area of deprivation.

Deputy leader at the county council, Cllr Heather Smith, said: “We looked at the services our children’s centres provide, we looked at how we could refocus them so that they deliver more targeted services to those families in need of additional support and we recommissioned our contracts on that basis. “

The cabinet meeting takes place at 2pm on September 9 at County Hall in Northampton. Meetings are open to the public and can be viewed online on the council’s website.