PLANS to permanently close a children’s centre have been met with opposition.

Middlesbrough Council currently runs six children’s centres offering activities, information, and support to help parents get their children ready to start nursery.

But a confidential notice, leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, has revealed that the council’s Executive will be making a decision on whether to close Berwick Hills Children’s Centre, formally based at Berwick Hills Primary School.

Listing the decisions that will be taken by members at an upcoming Executive meeting, the notice recommends: “That Executive approves the decision to close Berwick Hills Children’s Centre.

“That Executive approves the consultation process with the public and key stakeholders.

“That Executive approves legal notification to Department for Education to close Berwick Hills Children’s Centre as per conditions for the Sure Start Grant.”

Explaining the proposals, a spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: “Berwick Hills Children’s Centre, as a physical venue, was last operational in June 2018 when it could no longer be located at Berwick Hills Primary School.

“At the time, a letter was sent to all users of the centre explaining that the services could still be obtained at any of the other seven children’s centres in the town, until a venue could be identified for the relocation of the centre.”

In response, Labour group leader, Cllr Matthew Storey, said: “I have seen first-hand the fantastic work Middlesbrough’s Children’s Centres do and any decision must ensure that local people in one of our most deprived communities still have access to the most comprehensive service possible.”

The three independent councillors for Park End and Beckfield, Cllr Brian Hubbard, Cllr Mick Saunders and Cllr Stephen Hill, released a joint statement.

It said: “Given the centre was closed in 2018, it is obvious that they are going to close as there is nothing to keep open. So therefore to state that the matter is going out for consultation is disingenuous and lacks openness and transparency.

“It is inevitable that when the centre no longer exists, all data points to service users going elsewhere.”

There are six children’s centres in Middlesbrough.