Parents start petition to save Letchworth respite centre

Betty Howard, Clare Botterman, Georgia Field, Katrina Nice, Janet Birchell, Helen Birchell and David

Betty Howard, Clare Botterman, Georgia Field, Katrina Nice, Janet Birchell, Helen Birchell and David Ward hold a petition because children will now have to sent to Rippon Road in Stevenage. The parents have launched a petition to give to Herts County Council - Credit: Archant

ANGRY parents have launched a petition urging two organisations to rethink closing a children’s respite centre in Letchworth GC.

The group is outraged Herts County Council has decided to close state-of-the-art Wilbury House on Wilbury Road after it received eight noise complaints in the last six years.

Council bosses will not be renegotiating the lease of the property, owned by Letchworth Heritage Foundation, which was up for renewal.

Altogether 43 children who use the facility will be forced to move to a similar centre in Ripon Road, Stevenage when it shuts in April.

Mum-of-two Clare Botterman, whose 18-year-old daughter has learning disabilities and attends the provision twice a month, said parents had been left shocked by the lack of compassion which has been shown from council officials.

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The parents will present the petition, which has in excess of 500 signatures, to the chief executive of the heritage foundation, John Lewis and a representative from the council, at a meeting next Wednesday.

Mrs Botterman, who lives in Baldock, said the lack of transparency and clarity over the decision to close the facility which was refurbished three years ago has been frustrating.

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“There does not seem to be a logical reason as to why they are shutting the facility,” she said.

“The issue has been the lack of consultation over the decision and the fact we are being forced to move our children to an area and facility we know nothing about.”

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