Concerns only 700 residents have filled out consultation on ‘extremely detrimental’ children centre cuts

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Loxley House, home to Nottingham City Council
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

Concerns have been raised about the lack of response to a consultation over “extremely detrimental” plans to axe six children’s centres and reduce youth and play facilities.

Nottingham City Council has proposed to save around £28m this year to balance its books, which includes measures which will affect parents, children and young people.

Plans include closing six out of its nine children’s centres which provide midwifery, antenatal and post-natal clinics and early help and play sessions for parents and children.

Some of the children’s centres are in the most deprived wards in the city including Hyson Green and Bulwell. Some buildings that provide youth facilities could also close to meet the funding gap.

Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of Nottingham City Council, told an Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, January 5, the proposals were “extremely detrimental” and that “young people are being hit really hard on what is being proposed”.

He said there had been many face-to-face sessions and online meetings to discuss the proposals on the table with groups, residents, and organisations.

However, concerns were raised about the number of people who had filled out the public consultation.

So far, around 700 people out of a total city population of around 337,000 have filled out the consultation.

Cllr Carole McCullough (Lab), ward councillor for Aspley, who has two children’s centres on her doorstep at Minver Crescent and Amesbury Circus, said: “Are we happy with 700 out of all the residents in Nottingham? 700 does not seem a lot to me.

“The impact of these cuts is going to affect everybody of every age in the city and because it is not directed at what could be cut, just a budget proposal, you can’t see the real impact on real life communities.”

She called for more zoom meetings on the consultation and for it to be advertised on school websites and social media groups used by parents.

“You could get a couple of thousand of people on a zoom and they are all getting the exact same information at the exact same time,” she added.

“The information on the proposals is too generic and very little information about the nature of what is being proposed and the impact it will have on service provision and individual people’s wards.

“Unless it is clear that the proposal will directly affect them then people are less likely to engage with the consultation.”

The public consultation is open until January 10 and can be found at:

https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/engage-nottingham-hub/open-consultations/budget-202223/

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