The Labour-Independent Coalition at Cheshire East Council are proposing to close the Stanley Centre in Knutsford in an attempt balancing their books. This is despite receiving significantly more money than anticipated from the Government and proposing to increase your Council Tax to the maximum permitted level for the second year running.
Councillors Stewart Gardiner and Tony Dean are working with MP Esther McVey to try and retain this vital facility for the town.
The Stanley Centre, next to the Bexton Road Medical Centre, provides day-care facilities for older people and adults with special needs. For many of the residents who use the centre it is essential. Not only does the Centre enable its clients to enjoy activities, meet with others and spend time away from their family homes and but it secures much needed respite for their carers.
During Covid the Centre had to close to comply with regulations, but it took several months after the restrictions were lifted by the Government, for Cheshire East to reopen the centre. Cllr Gardiner raised concerns then at a meeting of the Adults and Health Committee, when he asked whether the Council’s reticence to reopen the Stanley Centre was a precursor for its permanent closure. Officers denied that this was the Council’s intention.
The Covid closure and subsequent delays in reopening also presented issues for the Knutsford Lions. They use the Centre each Christmas Day to provide lunch for local residents who would otherwise be alone. The Centre closing will put the event at risk.
The Council claim that this is only part of a consultation on the budget, but once a saving is identified it is unlikely the decision will be reversed without challenge. Therefore, it is essential that we apply as much pressure as possible to show public support for this facility—for its current and future users.
Cllr Gardiner has already requested that the matter be placed on the agenda of the Adults & Health Committee, but the meeting will be after the Council’s budget has been agreed so we need to make a stand now. Esther has also written to query the figures the Labour-Independent led Council are using to justify the closure.
Please support our campaign to keep the centre open by contacting CheshireEastCouncilCustomerServices@cheshire east.gov.uk expressing your support for the Stanley Centre and asking the Council to find savings from elsewhere. Knutsford Town Council, led by the Town Mayor, has already written to Cheshire East to challenge the decision.