Leading councillors have confirmed a decision on whether to close a long-running local authority childcare service has been deferred until later this year.

Oscar’s, run by Hartlepool Borough Council, provides after school and holiday care to children aged between three and 16.

Councillors at Tuesday’s (July 9) children’s services committee meeting had been due to consider its future, with officers recommending closure after more than 15 years.

A council report noted the service has been running over budget for a number of years, including by £46,000 last year, while demand has fallen despite “significant marketing” of the service.

However, Labour’s councillor Rachel Creevy, chair of the committee, confirmed the decision will be deferred until the next children’s services meeting in September.

She said in the meantime they are looking “to further engage with staff and parents who use the service” and it comes following “concerns” around the potential closure.

Speaking prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Creevy said: “We are not prepared to make a decision until every option has been explored.

“The decision has been deferred as new information has come to light about potential provision issues in our town.

“We will use this time to further reassess all current provision in Hartlepool to ensure that there is adequate coverage of after school and holiday care.”

Get more from The Northern Echo and stay informed with subscription. Click here to find out more.

Most read:

Balloon release planned for Darlington's Scarlett Vickers

Labour PM holds meeting with Mayors including Ben Houchen

Gogglebox's Anne and Ken visit County Durham restaurant

She added: “Fourteen years of cuts by the Conservative government have left a financial black hole in our local authority”.

Cllr Creevy said: “The new Labour administration have some very difficult decisions to make to protect the most vulnerable in our town, but we will not rush into them.”

Oscar’s is currently run from Golden Flatts Primary School after moving from Rossmere Youth Centre at Easter due to a large-scale refurbishment.