A DECISION to close a children's centre has been described as 'the most insidious cut' that a council has been forced to make due to budget constraints.

Haughton Children’s Centre is expected to close as a result of Darlington Borough Council proposals to remodel services across the town.

Darlington currently has five SureStart centres devoted to supporting families and children from pregnancy to the age of five.

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Members of the local authority's cabinet approved the cost-cutting plan despite the impact it could have on young people across the town.

Council leader Bill Dixon said: "This is probably the most insidious cut that we will make because it affects children, young children, and the impact will last longer than this conservative government – it will be long gone before the full impact is felt."

The proposals would see the McNay Street Children’s Centre become the borough’s hub, where classes, group activities and clinics will be delivered.

Skerne Park, Dodmire and Mount Pleasant Children’s Centres would become satellite facilities offering a reduced service for families living nearby.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, the council's children and young people portfolio holder, said the need to tackle a £1.4m budget cut in the department, meant the children’s centre remodelling which contribute with an estimated saving of £100,000 a year.

She told members that the plan was to identify alternative users offering “some children centre activity” in a bid to avoid the claw-back of grants already awarded.

Conservative group leader, Cllr Heather Scott expressed her disappointment that the decision was moving forward.

She said: "I'm sorry that Haughton Children's Centre has to be closed but it was the least used of the centres.

"I hope we can provide alternative facilities for the children in the area. We are where we are and this best decision in the situation."