SWINDON Council’s plans to close seven children’s centres in the town will go before cabinet tonight, but not before a protest by the Swindon People’s Assembly.

The proposal, which will save £800,000, was first put forward in July and, following a public consultation, it was announced last week that the plans would go ahead, although almost £200,000 will now be set aside to help provide support in parts of the town.

Nearly 2,000 people responded to the consultation and several petitions were handed in to the council from people unhappy about the plans.

However, faced with a need to find £50 million in savings over the next few years, council leaders say the closures are necessary.

The centres to be decommissioned are Eldene, Croft, Butterflies, Ladybird, Saltway, Robert le Kyng and West Swindon.

The Swindon People’s Assembly will hold a peaceful demonstration at the civic offices in Euclid Street at 5.45pm.

Kate Linnegar, spokeswoman for the assembly, urged people from all backgrounds to attend the demo in a final bid to save the centres.

“You may not be personally affected by this but it is just part of the cuts to our public services. What else will be considered unaffordable?” she said.

“We need to stand together to make it clear this is not how we want our public services diminished.

“Two thousand people signed a petition against this and professionals have voiced their concern about the negative impact this would have.

“There are alternatives but the council don’t seem to be listening. Let’s make it clear that this is not how we want our services to be run in Swindon. Come to the demo, bring your banners, whistles, drums, friends, neighbours and children.”

Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Fionuala Foley (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn), said last week: “These cuts are not unique and are taking place all over the country – only other authorities are closing all their centres.

“With money tight across the country, working more in the community is the way forward and I will be instructing officers to help people with this. The most vulnerable children will be protected.”