CONSULTATION into the future of two Brent children’s centre nurseries and the restructuring of a third has been extended by a month.
Families demanded more time to consider and respond to the council proposals, which could see the closure of nurseries at Treetops Children’s Centre in Willesden and the Harmony Children’s Centre in Harlesden, and the restructuring of the Willow Children’s Centre in Wembley.
The consultation will now finish on January 13 rather than December 14. A report is expected to go to the council’s executive committee in February rather than January.
A council spokesman explained that the proposals were drawn up as the nurseries are predicted to make a total loss for 2011/12 of more than £300,000. In addition, government funding, which has previously been used to subsidise the nurseries, has been significantly reduced.
The authority has promised that, if the proposals are approved, children with disabilities and some children with special needs would be provided for at Willow.
Under the proposals, the restructuring would at Willow would see nursery services continue, but the focus from 2012 onwards will be towards providing places for
children with disabilities or children in need.
There will no loss in terms of the number of places at Willow, but the allocated places for children with disabilities and children ‘in need’ would increase.
A council consultation statement said: “The current children will not be affected in terms of places but, in the future, this will lead to a reduction in the number of general fee paying and NEG (15-hour free entitlement) places.”
A council spokesperson said: “We recognise that this is an important issue to local families and want to give them enough time to consider the proposals properly.
“It is important to us that families feel they have been given a fair chance to have their say.”
Anyone wanting to find out more, or take part in the consultation can visit www.brent.gov.uk/consultation.