Ripon crèche WILL close

Ripon crèche WILL close

Published at 4:38pm 28th March 2019. (Updated at 4:43pm 28th March 2019)

Councillors have voted in favour of closing the Harry's Place Childcare at Ripon Leisure Centre, citing the ongoing cost of operating the crèche as the main reason. 

The decision was made at a meeting last night. 

Cabinet member with responsibility for the crèche, Coun Stanley Lumley, said: 

"It’s a great regret we have to bring this to cabinet tonight. It’s been on the radar for sometime, it’s a great shame."

He said that while a five-month trial of measures implemented last year had produced an improved performance at the centre, the projected net cost of operation still remained above £20,000 per year.

He added: 

"We tried what we could to market it, to increase footfall…(but) we now find the cost to subsidise that facility now outweighs demand."

Coun Mike Chambers spoke against closing the crèche, stating that he thought there was “still some mileage” in making it sustainable.

Coun Chambers said:

"I do think this is still premature.

"There will clearly be some concern with residents of Ripon.

"Whilst I accept a lot of the findings, I think there is still some mileage in making this crèche work."

He added that with a new swimming pool due at the site, "there will be a real need for this facility."

He added: 

"I think we should not necessarily withdraw the facility without ensuring it has come to a natural end."

Coun Lumley responded:

"Those were my very thoughts 12 months ago when it was first brought to me”.

"We tried to get numbers up (since then) but it just hasn’t been successful."

He said new options that could be explored included "pop-up crèches" which would operate when groups of new mums visit the leisure centre to exercise.

He was supported by council leader Richard Cooper, who said:

"We have a crèche there that was brought in to being because people who use it go and use the facilities (as well)…they’re not doing that."

"Not only are they not doing it, it’s costing everyone else £103 per child per visit for those users."

Put to the vote, all cabinet members voted in favour of closure, with the exception of Coun Chambers who voted against.

An exact date for closure will be agreed on between the cabinet member with responsibility for the crèche, Coun Lumley, and the creche’s head of service.