Children will be 'worse off' in move to turn Rhodesia children's centre into nursery, councillor warns
A Labour councillor says that parents and children will be left ‘worse off’ after the ‘deeply disappointing’ decision to sign over the lease on a children’s centre in Rhodesia.
(On Wednesday, March 17) Nottinghamshire County Council approved the lease of a building on the grounds of Haggonsfield Primary to the school’s academy for the next 125 years.
There are plans to utilise the ‘empty’ building as a nursery, creating ‘much needed’ places for children living nearby.
Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said this allowed for a ‘better use for the underused building’ which would soon be ‘full of children playing and learning, rather than sitting empty and silent’.
But Sybil Fielding, councillor for Worksop West ward, was left ‘deeply disappointed’ by the move which she said wasn’t ‘quite the good news it appeared’ as the building was already being used as a children’s centre which will now no longer be accessible to the public.
Coun Fielding said she had ‘repeatedly’ called for the decision to be reversed and felt her views on the matter were constantly ignored.
She said: “The consultation process has failed to tackle any of the issues that I have called on the council to address on several occasions in public meetings, and it has also failed to ascertain local views.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that the children, young people and families in Rhodesia will be worse off now because they cannot access any of the early intervention services that had been steadily withdrawn from this centre over the last four years under the Conservatives.
“And while I welcome the fact that Haggonfields Primary School are keen to expand provision at the school to meet the needs of local children, I remain concerned about how we will meet the needs of young mothers to be, and very young children, who won’t qualify for the proposed provision on offer under the new arrangements.
“It’s a very sad day for me as the local Labour Member, however I remain resolute in speaking up on behalf of my residents, and I will continue to advocate for children and young families in Rhodesia.”