Gloucestershire County Council wants to redesign family support services in the county, so that money can be reinvested into children’s safeguarding and social work.
It wants to reduce the 39 children’s centres – which support families with children aged 0-5 years – it pays for across the county to 16. Under the changes it sees the closure of the centres in Stroud at Parliament Street and Fiveways in Caincross.
It would also see the closures of centres in Nailsworth, Painswick and Wotton leaving only two centres for Stroud district – in Dursley and Stonehouse.
Stroud Town Council has objected to the county council saying it will be a false economy as it will focus only on families with existing problems.
“The council believes that these centres (in Caincross and Parliament Street) provide important and valuable services for residents from Stroud and the wider area and should be retained,” said Mayor Kevin Cranston.
The town council says that the proposed closures does not take into account the population served by the centres or the rural nature of Stroud district.
In its letter of objection the town council says the locations for the remaining centres has been based on just a handful of small geographical areas that are ranked in the 10% most deprived in the county.
The council says it ignores the needs of the wider population of the district and the availability of public transport, stating that there is a cluster of more deprived areas across the Stroud Valleys extending from Stonehouse to Stroud.
“We do not believe that the needs of this population can be effectively served from a single centre in Stonehouse,” said Mr Cranston.
“Concentrating services in larger centres would make them inaccessible to many families without access to transport, especially those in rural locations,” said Mr Cranston.
“The Centres at Parliament Street and Fiveways have good public transport access and are ideally sited to serve a large population. These two centres are currently accessible to 40% of the population of under 5s in Stroud District.”