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Councillor optimistic Diss children's centre will be saved




Diss Infant and Nursery School, where Diss Children's Centre is based. Picture Mecha Morton
Diss Infant and Nursery School, where Diss Children's Centre is based. Picture Mecha Morton

A south Norfolk councillor says he is cautiously optimistic Diss Children's Centre could be saved from closure after arranging a visit by the chairman of the county's children's services committee.

In September, Norfolk County Council unveiled proposals which would have seen 46 of the 53 children’s centres in the county closed for good.

Just seven of the existing children’s centres would remain in the county, with council bosses hoping it would help bring services out of buildings and into the community.

On Monday, however, the council announced updated proposals which would retain a further eight centres, including Diss meaning a total of 15 would kept open.

More than 1,600 people also responded to a public consultation over the initial proposals, which some critics condemned as both reckless and short-sighted.

Long Stratton centre is still on the retained list but centres in Harleston and Attleborough are still at risk.

Cllr Keith Kiddie, who is also a county councillor, told Diss Town Council, at its recent full council meeting: “It would be very remiss of me to say what I think is going to happen but I have got quite a good feeling about it.

South Norfolk and Norfolk County Councillor, Keith Kiddie
South Norfolk and Norfolk County Councillor, Keith Kiddie

"Councillor Stuart Dark, chair of children' services came down and met with me on Monday (January 7), the head of the infants and junior school, all the interested parties in the children's centre, and the children.

"We had a very very useful and productive meeting. Councillor Dark was very much in listening mode and we had a very useful to-and-fro dialogue.

"He was shown around the site, saw all the bits and pieces and asked quite a few questions.

"In essence the decision is being made this week (Monday) but the final decision will be taken on the January 22.

"In the event, any decision is now being made by the people with an informed decision because we, I, insisted that they came down and saw the place, so it is not a case that they are making a decision in isolation.

"I am cautiously optimistic, but I wouldn't bet my house on it.

"The important thing to remember is that irrespective of what happened to the children's centres per se, there will still be a provision of children's services; it's about providing the service but not necessarily the building.

"As we know, in some places across Norfolk, there are places where children's services are in buildings that are so old, it's costing five times as much to keep the building going as it is to provide the service."

County Council leaders says the reorganisation it is just one element of a wider £65m programme of transforming children’s services across the county.

The updated list of centres which could be retained:

Swaffham Children’s Centre, White Cross Road, Swaffham

Thetford Kingsway Children’s Centre, Kingsway, Thetford

Acle Marshes Children’s Centre, Bridewell Lane, Acle

Drayton and Taverham Children’s Centre

Great Yarmouth Children’s Centre, The Priory Centre, Priory Plain, Great Yarmouth

Seagulls Children’s Centre, Great Yarmouth

Downham Market Children’s Centre, Snape Lane, Paradise Road, Downham Market

Nar Children’s Centre, Saddlebow Road, South Lynn, King’s Lynn

Fakenham Gateway Children’s Centre, Norwich Road, Fakenham

North Walsham Children’s Centre, Manor Road, North Walsham

Catton Grove, Fiddlewood and Mile Cross Children’s Centre, Hunter Road, Norwich

City and Eaton Children’s Centre, Norwich

Earlham Children’s Centre, Norwich

Diss Children’s Centre, Diss Infant and Nursery School, Fitzwalter Road, Diss

Long Stratton Children’s Centre

The 38 centres facing the axe:

Thorpe Hamlet and Heartsease Children’s Centre, Wolfe Road, Norwich

East City and Framingham Earl Children’s Centre, Duckett Close, Norwich

Earlham Early Years Centre, Motum Road, Norwich

Bowthorpe, West Earlham and Costessey Children’s Centre, Humbleyard, Clover Hill, Norwich

North City Children’s Centre, Angel Road Infant School, Angel Road, Norwich

Aylsham Children’s Centre and Reepham Children’s Centre, The Pavilion, Sir Williams Lane, Aylsham

Attleborough Children’s Centre, Church Street, Attleborough

Hellesdon Children’s Centre, Horsford Infant School, Holt Road, Horsford

Spixworth and Sprowston Children’s Centre, Sprowston Infant School, Recreation Ground Road. Norwich

Hoveton and Broadland Children’s Centre, Hoveton Youth and Community Centre, Stalham Road, Hoveton

Dussindale Children’s Centre, Woodside Community Base, Witard Road, Norwich

Hunstanton Children’s Centre, Avenue Road, Hunstanton

North Lynn, Gaywood Children’s Centre, Walpole Road, King’s Lynn

Vancouver Children’s Centre, Fairstead Community Centre, Centre Point, King’s Lynn

West Walton Children’s Centre, Ashleigh Infant and Nursery School, School Road, Wisbech

Methwold Children’s Centre, Old School House, Brandon

Emneth Children’s Centre, Hollycroft Road, Emneth

Watton Children’s Centre, Westfield Infant and Nursery School, West Road, Thetford

Thetford Drake Children’s Centre, Drake Primary School, Fairfields, Thetford

St Clement’s Children’s Centre, Churchgate Way, Terrington St Clement

Dereham Central and Dereham South Children’s Centre, London Road, East Dereham

Litcham Children’s Centre, Litcham Primary School, Weasenham Road, Litcham

Harleston Children’s Centre, Harleston Primary School, School Lane, Harleston

Loddon Children’s Centre, Loddon Library Annexe, Church Plain, Loddon

Wymondham Children’s Centre, Ashleigh Infant and Nursery School, Sheffield Road, Wymondham

Hethersett Children’s Centre, Hethersett Woodside Nursery and Infant School, Firs Road, Hethersett

Village Green Children’s Centre, Moorlands Primary Academy, Moorland Way, Belton

Greenacre Children’s Centre, Peggoty Road, Great Yarmouth

Gorleston and Hopton Children’s Centre, Gorleston Library, Lowestoft Road, Gorleston

Caister Children’s Centre, Caister Infant Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Kingston Avenue, Caister-on-Sea

Trinity Children’s Centre, Martham Primary and Nursery School, Black Street, Martham

Stalham and Sutton Children’s Centre, Brumstead Road, Stalham

Mundesley Children’s Centre, Trunch Road, Mundesley

Cromer Children’s Centre, Mill Road, Cromer

Stibbard Children’s Centre, Fulmodeston Road, Stibbard

Wells Children’s Centre, Polka Road, Wells-next-the-Sea

Holt, Wells and Stibbard Children’s Centre, Charles Road, Holt



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