At Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee on Tuesday 9 March, Conservative councillors voted to remove a new nursery from its long-delayed Community Centre project in order to make savings of nearly £500,000. This was despite strong opposition from Abbey Labour councillors and activists.
The original vision for the Community Centre a decade ago was to provide various services – a library, community rooms, a youth facility and nursery – under one roof. This ‘hub’ was judged to provide ‘added value’ and significant benefit to local people as a result. The County Council appear now to have departed from that vision, placing emphasis on a cut-price no-frills building to reduce costs.
Abbey City Councillor Nicky Massey spoke at the meeting. After the vote, she commented:
“It is shameful that, despite no one in the discussion really speaking for the proposals with a number speaking against, and there being clear misleading data regarding financial impact on the County Council, the Conservatives voted against the strong views of the local community.”
Alexandra Bulat, Labour candidate for Abbey at the County Council election in May, also spoke at the committee. She added:
“It was abundantly clear the Abbey community want to see the early years provision part of the East Barnwell site. This was what promised since 2013. The Conservatives voted against the nursery today, confirming that they put short-term savings over a longer-term strategy that benefits families in Abbey.
“It is unacceptable the promises made to the community are broken. It is even more shameful that this is done without wider consultation with families in Abbey who are directly impacted by this decision.”