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Decision delay for Sea Breeze children's centre at Felixstowe is 'not good enough'

PUBLISHED: 16:17 10 December 2014

Council candidate David Rowe, councillor Margaret Morris, campaigner Corinne Franklin, and Parliamentary candidate Russell Whiting outside the Sea Breeze Children's Centre in Felixstowe, which they are campaigning to save from closure.

Council candidate David Rowe, councillor Margaret Morris, campaigner Corinne Franklin, and Parliamentary candidate Russell Whiting outside the Sea Breeze Children's Centre in Felixstowe, which they are campaigning to save from closure.

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Campaigners in Felixstowe say ongoing uncertainty over the future of a key children's centre is not good enough.

Suffolk County Council has postponed the final vote on the fate of nine centres in the county, including the Sea Breeze centre in Felixstowe, until a cabinet meeting on January 27 – even though consultation closed in October.

More than 400 people signed a petition against the closure of Sea Breeze, which according to latest data from End Child Poverty Now serves an area in which 26.3% of its children live in poverty.

If the centre in Beach Station Road closes, parents with tiny children face a long walk, including up Peewit Hill, to the Oaks Centre, Grange Road, or two bus journeys each way.

Russell Whiting, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Suffolk Coastal, said “This whole process has been a shambles from the start.

“We were given an assurance from the Government that no centres would close, then a consultation which ran over the school holidays and now this delay.

“I hope common sense will prevail and the Sea Breeze will be saved.”

Margaret Morris, district councillor for Felixstowe West ward, said “Local people have expressed their feelings about the threatened closure of the Sea Breeze Centre.

“Those who rely on the services now face another month of uncertainty and it really isn’t good enough.”

The county council said it had received more than 1,000 responses to the consultation.

Cabinet member for young people, Gordon Jones said: “This consultation has been about the closure of specific buildings that are expensive or no longer fit for purpose and are not meeting the needs of children and families – it has not been about stopping or cutting services.

“In fact, by reducing our spend on buildings we can better protect the staff that actually deliver the services.”

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