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Letter to local newspapers about the review of Older People's Services

May 16, 2006 1:53 PM

Following the vote by Spelthorne Borough Council on the proposals for Older People's Services and Spelride this letter, written by local Liberal Democrat Lawrence Nichols, was printed in both the Surrey Herald and Guardian newspapers.


Now that a decision has been reached on the fate of the Benwell and Stanwell Day Centres it is possible to look back over the process and draw some conclusions.

Firstly the Council was intentionally dishonest at the start. The consultation document was titled "Improving older people's services in Spelthorne". This was never the motivation as it is now clear that financial constraints were the reason for the proposals. The Council decided it needed to make cuts and identified older peoples services as the softest target.

The consultation process was a sham. The Council did not arrange a single proper meeting with residents to explain the proposals. Councillors had to be dragged against their will to meetings arranged by residents groups and then no proper presentation was made to the community. The Council did not want to discuss the proposals or listen to alternatives.

The Council was forced to revise proposals because of local action, particularly in Sunbury and Stanwell. Even so, at a recent meeting at Benwell Centre the Council continued to perpetuate the myth that there had been a low level of complaint against the proposals.

The only people who want this change are the Conservative Councillors and their paid officials - there is not a single other voice of approval to be found. Even our MP has not endorsed the approach, preferring instead to sit on the fence and say he cannot be involved.

Day Centre Campaign BuggyAt the last election in 2003 the manifesto for the current leader of the Council, Gerry Ceaser, proudly announced that "Your Conservative Council supports 5 (in bold) well appointed Day Centres for the elderly..". Not any more they don't.


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