More than 250 people have signed a petition opposing plans to close four of Hounslow's 18 children's centres.

Hounslow Council is proposing to shut children's centres in Norwood Green, Chiswick, Syon and Feltham Hill, and to change the way the remaining centres operate.

It claims the changes will enable it to provide more free childcare places for disadvantaged two-year-olds in the borough's most deprived neighbourhoods.

A petition to save the threatened centres has received 267 signatures in the two days since it was started by Daniela Wilson, of Feltham, on the website

She described the centres as a "lifeline" where children are able to learn vital social skills.

"The closure of the children's centres will not only have a negative impact on the children's current lifestyles, but on their futures too," she claimed in the petition.

"They are teaching our children that money and financial issues are valued above their education and their development. We implore that you rethink these cuts, taking into account their negative impacts."

Children's centres were set up to help families with young children. They offer services ranging from play facilities for youngsters to training and employment advice for their parents.

Under the council's plans, seven of the remaining centres would provide additional free childcare places alongside their traditional services and three would only provide extra childcare places. The remaining four would continue to operate as at present.

The council claims the move would allow it to provide 156 extra free childcare places, offering youngsters from poorer neighbourhoods a better start in life.

It also claims the proposed changes would save £1.76m, helping it achieve the £60m of cuts it says it needs to make by 2019.

More than two fifths of five-year-olds in the borough fell short of the expected standards when they started school - one of the highest levels in the country - according to recent figures.

Councillor Tom Bruce, cabinet member for education and children's services, said: "As a new parent myself, I use many of the services available in Hounslow and understand people are concerned about what the council’s proposals will mean for their families.

“We’re holding the 90 day consultation so that we can use the views of parents and carers to shape the future of services and activities for under fives in our borough.

"We’re facing tough financial times and need to save money.

"We believe our proposals for under fives which would see children centres services run from leisure centres and community groups are more cost effective and more convenient for residents.

“Hounslow Council wants all children to get the best possible start in life.

"To do this, we need to make sure we are providing the right services, in the right place, for families who need them most.

"I encourage everyone to take part in our consultation through filling in a questionnaire or coming to a consultation meeting at your local centre – you can find out full details at"

A public consultation on the plans, called 'Brighter futures for under fives', was launched on July 20 and is due to run until October 17.

The petition has attracted a number of comments from worried parents.

Katherine Black, of Feltham, wrote: "Me and my son use the local children's centres. To close and partially close these will limit the activities he can participate in. This will have an adverse effect on local children and their development. Most people in LBH can not afford to regularly attend the private soft play and clubs for under 5s."

Victoria Coles, of Isleworth, commented: "I have really enjoyed going to the children's centres with my son during my maternity leave. Although I am lucky enough to be able to afford to go to private groups as well, some mums are not in such a privileged position, and depend upon the centres for activities, support and socialising with other parents."

You can learn more about the plans and have your say here.

How would your nearest children's centre be affected?

  • Heston, Lampton, Midsummer, Dukes Meadows, South Isleworth, Crane Park and Bedfont children's centres will be used in a different way to provide both the children's centre offer and additional childcare places
  • Beavers, Brentford, Cranford and Alf King children's centres will operate full-time to provide the children's centre offer
  • Hounslow Town, North Isleworth and Southville children's centres would solely provide additional free childcare places for our eligible two-year-olds
  • Norwood Green, Chiswick, Syon and Feltham Hill children's centres would close