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Disappointment as Haverhill children’s centre is to shut

By Sammi Nice

There has been disappointment at the decision to shut a Haverhill children’s centre after months of uncertainty.

Haverhill’s On Track children’s centre in Strasbourg Square is set to shut, with its services being merged with those of the Cartwheels centre in Greenfields Way.

The decision was made on Tuesday, February 24, at a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting. A previous decision to close the centre had been called before the scrutiny committee.

Councillor Bryony Rudkin said: “The item lasted just five minutes. There was no debate, no questions. There was just a short presentation and then they went straight to a vote.

“It’s incredibly disappointing for the young people of Haverhill and their carers.

“They [the county council] say they’re trying to help hard-to-reach groups, but they’re making it more and more difficult for some of them to get the services they need.

“I’m not surprised. This is still a really big issue.”

Councillor Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “I remain fully committed to ensuring that children centre services are delivered in suitable locations.

“The needs of children and their families have changed over time and we must continue to develop our services accordingly.”

Cllr Anne Gower no longer represents Haverhill at the county council but has been active in opposing the closures.

“I think it’s a dreadful decision,” she said. “I’m extremely disappointed, but I’m even more disappointed by the fact there was no real discussion. It’s completely disrespectful to all the good arguments that were put forward.

“The services will be fragmented. What will happen to the people who fall through the cracks?”

It is expected that the relocation of services will begin in April.

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