BETTER-off families will no longer be able to use children centre services if council proposals get the green light.
Bury Council has unveiled plans to axe 11 full-time staff from its children’s services department to save £820,000.
A report to be considered by the all-Labour Cabinet meeting at the town hall at 6pm next Wednesday accepts there could be “significant public opposition to the proposals”.
The government is compelling Bury Council to offer 15 hours of nursery care for 38 weeks a year to the 40 per cent most deprived two-year-olds in the borough.
This amounts to 1,177 children, but there are only 687 places.
To create more places, the report proposes converting seven children’s centres into nurseries.
Six are based at the following primary schools: Butterstile and Heaton Park in Prestwich, Radcliffe Hall and St John’s in Radcliffe, and St Stephen’s and St John with St Mark, in Bury. The other is Ramsbottom Children’s Centre.
Service providers, such as schools, will bid to run them and they will cease to become known as children’s centres, as will Tottington Children’s Centre.
Meanwhile, the council is proposing to establish children’s centre hubs, designed to cover each area of the borough where the most deprived youngsters live.
They will be at the following children’s centres: Woodbank with Elton in Brandle- sholme Road, Bury, Little Oaks in Hazel Avenue, Bury, Coronation Road in Radcliffe, Besses in Ribble Drive, Whitefield, Sedgley in Bishops Road, Prestwich, and Redvales in Dorset Drive, Bury.
The report states: “These proposals will help deliver a proposed savings target of £820,000, which has been set for the service (from April 2015).
It adds: “(There could be) significant public opposition to the proposals including opposition to move to a targeted rather than a universal service and/or conversion of sites to nursery provision.
“The strategy will provide positive support to the most vulnerable families in the borough.”
If the cabinet approves the proposals, a 12-week consultation will begin with staff, unions and service users and a final decision would expect to be made in December.
Read the full report here.