COUNCILLORS are being excluded from the review of the closure of three Huddersfield nurseries, according to a top politician.
In February, Kirklees decided to shut Tiddlywinks in Deighton, Cambridge Road Nursery and Sankofa in Hillhouse.
A review of the decision was ordered the following month after campaigners gathered 5,000 signatures against the plan.
But Lib Dem councillor John Smithson feels elected representatives are not being allowed to add their voices to this debate.
He said: “No effective consultation has been held and Clr Jim Dodds, the Cabinet member for children’s services, has repeatedly stated that he sees no alternative but to close all three nurseries. Frankly this is not good enough.”
Clr Smithson pointed to a motion passed unanimously by councillors on June 27.
He said: “It noted that users and their elected representatives had been excluded from the review process and called on the Cabinet to enter into a full consultation. But since then very little has happened.”
And the Lib Dem deputy leader had harsh words for the Conservative Cabinet.
He said: “All of them voted to hold an objective consultation, but so far they have failed to make it happen.
“The Cabinet in general – and Clr Dodds in particular – are in danger of holding the Council and all the users and staff of the nurseries in contempt.”
But Clr Dodds dismissed the criticism.
He said: “I am disappointed that Clr Smithson has not had the courtesy to talk to me about this issue before making his misguided and inaccurate comments.”
Clr Dodds said the review was open to many, including councillors.
He said: “I have already had discussions or meetings with interested parties. Parents from Cambridge Road nursery have produced documents putting across their point of view, as has Unison.
“There was also an open meeting on July 9, which Clr Smithson chose not to attend.”
And Clr Dodds added there was still time for people to make their voices heard.
He said: “Parents, staff, unions, and councillors have until August 20 to put forward their comments as part of the review. There is also a scrutiny panel of councillors carrying out its own review of this issue.
“Far from excluding anyone from the consultation, I’m trying to make it as open as possible – as I promised.
“Clr Smithson’s criticism is based either on ignorance or political motivation – neither of which is particularly helpful.”