KIRKLEES Council chiefs have given evidence about the controversial closure of three nurseries.
In February councillors decided to shut Sankofa Nursery in Hillhouse, Tiddlywinks in Deighton and the Cambridge Road Nursery.
But a review of the decision was ordered the following month after campaigners collected 5,000 signatures against the plan.
And now a special committee of councillors is looking into the conduct of that review.
They heard evidence yesterday from Karen Worrall, the council’s head of localities.
She said: “I believe closing the nurseries is the right decision to give value for money. We’ve done a thorough analysis and it showed there is plenty of nursery provision in the areas effected.”
Ms Worrall said that stand-alone nurseries like Sankofa, Tiddlywinks and Cambridge Road were increasingly rare.
She said: “The landscape for child care provision has changed immeasurably in the last decade. We’ve come late to this agenda in Kirklees. In places like Sheffield and Manchester there are no stand-alone day nurseries left.”
Ms Worrall said she had decided to prevent any further children joining the three nurseries until their fate was decided.
She said: “I made the decision to freeze admissions. It seemed unfair to let people into a place that was going to close. Until a decision is made it doesn’t seem fair to lift the admissions block.”
Christine Renshaw, head of the council’s early years service, also gave evidence to the committee at the Methodist Mission yesterday .
She said: “I care about the nurseries and the impact of their closure on children and staff. We’ve tried to keep the staff fully informed but it has been difficult.”