Maida Vale parents have not been ignored in playcentre plans
I write in relation to your coverage of Westminster City Council s plans for the future of the Maida Vale play centre. While we of course welcome constructive criticism and do not shy away from robust debate in the local press, we believe that your report
I write in relation to your coverage of Westminster City Council's plans for the future of the Maida Vale play centre.
While we of course welcome constructive criticism and do not shy away from robust debate in the local press, we believe that your reporting of this issue is largely one-sided and acts as a disservice to your readers.
It is simply not true to state - without qualification - that parents have been "ignored by the council at every step of the decision making" process.
Unfortunately, this and other false accusations have been compounded by some of the protagonists you regularly quote on this issue, who have unwisely chosen to make this debate personal.
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The facts of the matter are that my department and I have devoted a huge amount of time and energy to finding a satisfactory solution that can meet the needs of local families while ensuring that we deliver taxpayers value for money.
Indeed, I have held at least four meetings with local parents throughout January and February to listen to their views on play provision in Maida Vale. Furthermore, I have made every effort to ensure residents have been kept involved throughout this period of consultation.
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By moving the Maida Vale play service to the nearby Essendine School during term time, all children in Maida Vale will be able to access heavily subsidised places in a brand new building - for as little as 74p for a three-hour session.
The relocation has also enabled the council to save approximately £75,000. This money will be ploughed back into improved play areas for children with disabilities in Westminster.
I remain confident that our decision will enhance facilities for young people and their families in the Maida Vale area.
Councillor Sarah Richardson
Cabinet Member for Children's Services