BOROUGH children’s chief, Coun Joe Tildesley, has admitted ‘teething problems’ with the management re-tender of children’s centres.
Worst affected of Solihulll’s 14 centres was Smith’s Wood, which was forced to relocate after Action for Children told the council they could not viably run just one children’s centre and would have to reclaim the building for office use.
Norman Davies, (Lib Dem, Olton) demanded to know why a contract had not been in place to ensure the council could continue to lease the building, regardless of how many children’s centre management contracts it awarded to Action for Children.
“Smith’s Wood is one of the most troublesome areas in the entire borough,” he told this month’s children and young people cabinet meeting. “It’s also one of the areas most in need of this. Why was it not signed, sealed and delivered?”
A new location was found earlier this year, sharing the former Wood ‘n’ Tots nursery in Wheatfield Close with community nursery Wise Owls, only for the premises to be targeted by yobs. The latest act of vandalism caused so much flood damage the building had to be temporarily closed for repairs.
The report stated: “Unfortunately the (new) building has suffered a number of break-ins resulting in damage, loss of equipment, flood and closure. Despite being alarmed the building does appear to be being targeted.”
Coun Tildesley said: “We can’t allow any of our children’s centres to be subjected to this kind of attack. If children are missing out because of these kind of crimes, it’s not acceptable.”
But Coun Mike Sheridan (Green, Smith’s Wood) said it would be difficult to make the centre less vulnerable until regeneration work began.
“I agree that the building isn’t secure and there isn’t a way to make it secure.”