HASLEMERE and Hindhead-based protesters joined Saturday’s Save Our Services in Surrey ‘Austerity Kills’ march and rally in Woking.
Objectors to Surrey County Council (SCC) proposals to close 31 children’s centres included Claire Matthes, who works at Haslemere’s Tennyson’s children’s centre, which supports 880 families but has been earmarked for closure.
Claire said: “Haslemere, like much of Surrey, is a beautiful, leafy area of the country, which belies the fact many families and individuals struggle with the issues of daily life.
“Cutting services such as children’s centres, libraries, SEND provision and concessionary bus fares unfairly targets some of the most vulnerable people in our community and I felt compelled to come out on Saturday and lend my voice to this protest.”
Tennyson’s is one of 31 children’s centres threatened with closure under SCC cost-cutting proposals to save more than £200m by 2021, which are out for public consultation until January 4.
Proposals from Surrey’s Kingston HQ also suggest closing ‘less-used’ Farnham and Cranleigh community recycling centres, plus cuts to concessionary bus passes and reshaping library services.
Haslemere Town Council has strongly objected to the proposed closure of Tennyson’s Sure Start, which has served the community for nine years from its base at St Bartholomew’s Primary School.,
Writing to the Herald town mayor David Round said: “The Sure Start Centre is important to Haslemere, where the apparent affluence of our area hides the fact many families need and depend on help from the centre. ”
South West Surrey MP and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged residents to respond to the consultation. “Surrey County Council is in an incredibly difficult position,” he said, “so some very tough decisions must be taken.
“I strongly sympathise with those potentially affected by these measures. I continue to liaise closely with the SCC leader and his relevant teams to try to understand the rationale behind some of the decisions being made.
“In all cases I would encourage residents to write and make known their strength of feeling when the relevant public consultations are open”.
? To respond go to www.surreycc.g
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