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Public consultation into plans to close council-run nurseries in Tower Hamlets opens

PUBLISHED: 09:32 30 July 2018

Protestors outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall over the council plans to close down three day-care nurseries. Picture: Ken Mears

Protestors outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall over the council plans to close down three day-care nurseries. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

The latest public consultation into plans to close Tower Hamlets Council’s three nurseries has opened.

The latest public consultation into plans to close Tower Hamlets Council’s three nurseries has opened.

Facing what mayor John Biggs calls “tough choices”, the council looks to shut its day-care centres amid vocal opposition from campaigning mums and £58 million in government funding being slashed from the council’s budget every year for the past three years.

Today the third series of consultations into the closures in four years went live, having been extended following complaints it was too short.

It allows residents to share their views on the controversial plans, which will see Mary Sambrook Day Nursery close next month, John Smith Children’s Centre in December and specialist deaf unit Overland Nursery next year.

Councillors are set to debate the measures at Thursday’s cabinet meeting in Mulberry Place.

The consultation runs until Monday, September 10, meaning Mary Sambrook could stay open after its proposed closing date.

The council argues the three nurseries are not cost effective, running up a bill of more than £1m a year, or £15,000 a child (compared to £1,700 in nursery schools).

Speaking at the council’s overview and scrutiny committee meeting earlier this month, Cllr Danny Hassell (Labour, Bromley South) defended the decision, stating: “The pressure on school budgets is so much that they are unable to continue with this provision.”

Party colleague Gabriela Salva Macallan (St Peter’s) was one of five Labour councillors calling in the move.

“We feel these three sites justify having more options,” she said, adding: “What we are asking for in the call in is that parents would know where they are with their children and staff would know their job is secure.”

Corrupt former mayor Lutfur Rahman first suggested closing council-run nurseries four years ago.

Despite a pledge to keep the then four day-care nurseries open, Queen Mary nursery shut its doors the following year.

Last year pensioner Belle Harris took mayor Biggs to task over nursery cuts at a cabinet meeting.

“They are cuts — not savings,” she told him.

To take part in the consultation, click here.

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