Claims Woodbridge children’s centre has secured new lease rubbished by council

Caterpillar Childrens Centre has not secured a new lease, contrary to reports made by a district co

Caterpillar Childrens Centre has not secured a new lease, contrary to reports made by a district councillor. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A new lease for an under-threat children’s centre has not been secured, Suffolk County Council has confirmed – despite public suggestions it had been saved.

East Suffolk district councillor Chris Mapey, Conservative, told Woodbridge Town Council's meeting last week that the Caterpillar Children's Centre, which could close under new proposals by the county council, had secured a new two year lease.

However, the county council has denied this is the case, and said the centre was in fact midway through a six year lease - a situation which had not changed.

According to a council spokesman, the authority is aware of all the lease arrangements for all its centres.

A date for the public consultation to begin has not yet been announced, as consultation documents are still being prepared.

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Under the council's plans, nine children's centres would be changed to part time hours, 11 're-purposed' to become nurseries or schools, and two would close entirely. However, a final decision can only be made after a public consultation has been carried out.

Caroline Page, Liberal Democrat councillor for Woodbridge, said: "Under every scenario proposed by the Conservatives, the Caterpillar Children's Centre was to close.

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"Strange therefore to hear via a Conservative district councillor that the future of our centre may have been secured before any consultation has taken place.

"I have sadly had no confirmation from any official source.

"Whilst I would be thrilled beyond belief if the Caterpillar Centre has been saved for the time being, I would be concerned if major decisions were being made in private deals away from any public scrutiny."

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