VITAL children’s centre services could move into the community as Wiltshire Council outlines plans to close the building in Pewsey.

Wiltshire Council has consulted on whether to close six of 17 buildings across Wiltshire, including Pewsey to save £250k. Pewsey run a range of groups including breastfeeding groups, sensory play and drop in clinics that would move into community places such as libraries and the Vale Campus.

There is mixed reaction to the news, which could see the building on Wilcot Road used in other ways including a possible expansion of local nursery Puddleducks.

Manager Beverly Smith declined to confirm whether the nursery plans to take over the site.

Pewsey councillor Jerry Kunkler said: “The community has pulled together and now we have a plan which means that this will be good for the village. It is expected that a nursery will move into the site which is much needed to expand. Because of the sensory room there it means that SEN work can still continue.We also have the new Vale Campus where the groups will be able to move in to.”

Chair of Pewsey Parish Council Curly Haskell said: “Wiltshire Council have applied the same plan that began two years ago to close the other half of the buildings. On this occasion we were convinced that it was probably the right thing to do. The services will not be cut, but they will be run from the family’s own homes, the campus or library. We saw no reason why the groups cannot continue to happen. It is hoped Puddleducks will be given some support. It is obviously easy for us to say this as councillors, as I am not a parent using the children’s centre about that change.”

However some mums think running groups in libraries or sports centres would not be appropriate.

Mum Siobhan Boyle said: “The centres are a great way get out and meet other new parents. I am not sure how a library or the campus would work because parents might not feel comfortable to speak openly about things.”

Liz Blackshaw is part of a country wide campaign to keep children centres open and said: “Without one point of contact parents can feel lost. For every £1 spent on children’s centres, it saves £4 down the line.” Lucy-Anne Bryant, Wiltshire Council lead commissioner, said: “We want families to access libraries to improve literacy and reading. But we also want to improve fitness and consider healthy lifestyles so we want to encourage that by having services they already use in these spaces.” The consultation closed last night. (WEDS)

A spokesman for charity Spurgeons, which run the service said: “The future provision of children’s centre services in Wiltshire is the focus of a Wilshire Council consultation that runs from 23 January to 19 March 2019. There are some proposed closures of sites as part of this consultation – should it be decided that these proposals go ahead, the children’s centre services will continue but will do so in different venues in the community. If agreed, any changes will take place from 1 July 2019. All queries regarding the consultation should be addressed to Wiltshire Council.”