Campaigners have spoken out after plans to replace 35 children’s centres with nine hubs will plough on after a call-in was rejected.

The call-in was discussed at a meeting of Bucks County Council’s (BCC) children’s social care and learning select committee last Friday, where the committee debated the way the council consulted on the proposed changes.

But the call-in was rejected after a two-hour discussion, which means the plans will go ahead.

Alka Dass, of Save Buckinghamshire’s Children’s Centres, said the campaign group would “not be stopping” and that she would “not be walking away from this”.

She said: “We worked extremely hard on this and it seems that those committee members that rejected our call-in did not want to listen to our reasons as to why the consultation was flawed.

“In addition, the campaign and the petition in particular were blamed for creating confusion.

“I would now urge Cllr Warren Whyte [BCC’s cabinet member for children’s services] and team to ensure that they speak with users of the centres, parents, schools and the actual staff in the children’s centres.

“They must work with them for the best results for Bucks and do their utmost to keep them open.

“We have already had an inadequate from Ofsted for children’s services, we cannot close the children’s centres and put families and staff through this.”

Backbench county councillor Julia Wassell, who called-in the original decision alongside Cllrs Chaudhary Ditta, Martin Farrow and Niknam Hussain, said she was “disappointed” by the rejection.

She said: “We had a very strong case that we managed to deliver [at the meeting]. I thought it was a sterling team effort.

“We have made it clear that every step of the way needs consultation about these hubs.

“We need a lot more clarification about what the hubs are going to be and what is going to happen with the other buildings.

“We hope they will be used by the community and to the benefit of the users of the services.”

The changes will see team bases at seven of the existing children’s centres along with the remaining two areas – Quarrendon and Buckingham – currently being assessed for “appropriate locations”.

Council bosses said the future of the remaining 28 buildings would be decided with local communities, schools and early years providers.

A national petition has been launched urging the government to provide local councils with more funding to protect children's centres around the country.

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