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Little Buddies in Buckhurst Hill will shut
A children’s centre is set to close despite the protests of residents and councillors.
Little Buddies in Victoria Road, Buckhurst Hill, which provides free activities for children under five and their parents, is just one centre which will be forced to close across the county as Essex County Council bids to save £2.3m.
When the centre closes there will only be three main sites operating full-time hours in the district - Brambles Children’s Centre in Epping, Hazelwood Children’s Centre in Waltham Abbey and True Stars Children’s Centre in Chigwell.
Services will still be provided at at Abbeywood Children’s Centre in Waltham Abbey, Little Oaks Children’s Centre in Loughton and Little Star Centre’s Centre in Chipping Ongar, but for only 15 hours per week.
Essex County Councillor Dick Madden, cabinet member for families and children, said: “Back in January myself and my cabinet colleagues approved the changes to children’s centre service delivery.
“These changes were developed following a consultation exercise across the county.
“I am confident that we will ensure a good quality of service, allowing for more flexibility and the ability to provide outreach work where families need it most.”
Steven Neville, of Rous Road in Buckhurst Hill, and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett have claimed that the cuts will "force children into poverty".
Mr Neville created a petition against the cuts which was signed by more than 100 people.
A date for the closure of Little Buddies has not yet been set.