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Ipswich: Ormiston has no plans to move from children’s centre site earmarked for homes

PUBLISHED: 13:27 17 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:27 17 March 2014

Megan Williams with her son David Gatt, two and a half, is upset that the Ormiston Children's Centre on Felixstowe Road is due to close at the end of the month.

Megan Williams with her son David Gatt, two and a half, is upset that the Ormiston Children's Centre on Felixstowe Road is due to close at the end of the month.

A children’s centre set to close at the end of the month has been earmarked as potential site for housing development.

It was announced last week that Ormiston Children and Families Trust’s children’s centre in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, would shut on March 31.

And now Ipswich Borough Council is proposing to adopt the site as an area for potential housing.

According to a public notice outside the children’s centre, there is scope for 27 dwellings on the site.

But Ormiston Children and Families Trust have stated the organisation intends to run a nursery from the site once the children’s activities stop at the end of the month.

An Ormiston spokesman said: “Ormiston Children and Families Trust is under no obligation to vacate the site on Felixstowe Road for the housing plans under consideration by Ipswich Borough Council.

“Our priority is, and has always been, serving local children and families and we intend to continue doing this.

“This is clearly demonstrated by our intention to open a nursery on the Felixstowe Road site.

“As is as appropriate for any well-managed organisation in our position, we are exploring alternative options to ensure the best interests of the charity.
“We have been in contact with local residents throughout this process, listening carefully to what they have to say about the future of the site and how best to provide for local children and families.”
The children’s centre provides a range of services for parents-to-be and families of under fives including baby massage, a breastfeeding workshop and a drop-in session for the Polish community.

The closure comes after Suffolk County Council decided against extending the charity’s contract to run the services.

From April 1, the services the charity has been delivering will be provided by the county council from other locations in the area.

Borough councillor Bill Knowles, who represents Priory Heath ward, said he and his fellow Priory Heath councillors have objected to the application to make the site available for potential housing.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “We have held a consultation exercise with local residents and are now studying their responses to a proposal to consider adopting the site for potential housing.”

A public meeting on the closure will be held at the children’s centre on Wednesday at 7.30pm.

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