Wellingborough Council has agreed to look again at the decision to close a day care centre in the town.
At a meeting of the council last night (Tuesday 2 September), councillors voted with 25 in favour and two against to refer the decision to close Glamis Hall back to its next resources committee meeting for further consideration.
Councillors heard that additional information and options had become available since the decision to close was made back in June, but that the reasons for closing the service – including the building not being fit for purpose and the financial commitment needed to continue a discretionary service – were still valid. They agreed to look at all the information at a meeting of the resources committee on 16 September before reviewing the June decision.
More than 60 people had packed into the crowded council chamber to present a 10,000 signature petition opposing the closure. The meeting had been called to receive the petition and to decide on one of three options – to confirm the decision to close, to refer the decision back to resources committee, or to rescind the decision.
Councillors at the meeting heard from eleven members of the public, who explained the impact the closure would have on them and their families.
Speaking after the lengthy and sometimes heated meeting, council leader Cllr Paul Bell said: "We listened to everything people had to say and the decision was taken overwhelmingly in favour of referring the matter back to resources committee for further consideration.
"I realise that some people were hoping for a different outcome and it was obvious that feelings were running high in the council chamber last night. However, although the decision to close hasn’t been reversed as some were hoping, we have committed to looking at it again. What we are doing is giving everyone time to properly consider all available information before making a recommendation to the whole council. There are no easy answers or solutions here.
"The main reason for referring the decision back is that, since the original decision was made back in June, several things have changed: the considerable publicity has generated some additional options for us to look at; more information has been gathered, as requested by councillors at the June meeting; and the committee of campaigners have indicated they can suggest ways to help the service continue.
"It’s important to note, however, that the reasons for closing the service are still valid. The building is still not fit for purpose; financial commitment would be needed to continue a discretionary service; and it may also be possible that there are more suitable arrangements for the clients.
"All of this, every scrap of available information and all possible options, will be discussed by the resources committee on 16 September, before a recommendation about the future of Glamis Hall is made to the full council meeting on 7 October."