MP calls for Public Meeting on Chiswick Day Centre

Mary Macleod MP urges Council to allow community to have their say

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Mary Macleod MP has called on Councillor Jagdish Sharma, Leader of Hounslow Council, for an urgent public meeting to be held on the proposal to close Chiswick Day Centre.

A decision on the proposed closure was due to be made at a Borough Council meeting on 19th July but has now been deferred until September due to a technicality.

In a letter to the Leader of the Council this week, Mary urgently requested that Day Centre users and their carers have the opportunity to ask questions of Councillor Lal, the Executive Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care. She emphasised that a number of her constituents are anxious about the future of the Day Centre and would value the chance to put their concerns to Councillor Lal in advance of a final decision.

The local MP highlighted that she had made two previous requests for a public meeting to Councillor Lal but had received no response. Mary also noted that a similar request for a public meeting was also made on 6th July at a Scrutiny Panel meeting and was endorsed by Scrutiny members present, including a majority of Labour Councillors.

Mary said: “I think it is really important that there should now be a public meeting in Chiswick about this, with Councillor Lal in attendance, to explain to local residents why Hounslow Council thinks Chiswick Day Centre should be closed.

With a final decision not expected until September, there is adequate time for constructive dialogue and an informed discussion and I believe a public meeting would be the perfect opportunity for this.

As I have stated before, I strongly believe that Chiswick Day Centre should stay open and would urge the Council to reconsider. Closing the Centre would be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of those who use who currently use it. Also, with an aging population, we really need a Day Centre in Chiswick, now more than ever.”

Cllr Gurmail Lal said: “The government has been pushing for councils to meet targets of 30% of people eligible for social care support to receive a personal budget. We have already achieved a figure of 36%, giving people more choice over their own care provision, and as a result we found that take up for our mainstream day care services fell by 30% in Chiswick. With this in mind, the council’s Cabinet made recommendations in early July to close two day centres in the borough due to falling user numbers, as well as help to plug the gap in our £60m deficit. These recommendations will go to a full borough council meeting."

He dismissed the call for a public meeting saying that the Council have fully consulted with those who are most directly affected but said he and the leader would be happy to meet with voluntary sector partners to discuss future service provision.

August 1, 2011