Council may be forced to rethink plans to close centre for adults with learning disabilities
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
A date has been set for a meeting which could force Monmouthshire council’s cabinet to reconsider the closure of a centre for adults with learning disabilities.
At the end of November, the Labour run council’s cabinet member for social care Tudor Thomas approved the permanent closure of the Tudor Centre in Abergavenny, which has yet to re-open since it closed due the Covid pandemic in early 2020.
The decision has come despite the council currently holding a review of its ‘My Day, My Life’ service for adults with learning disabilities that isn’t due to report until March next year.
But Cllr Thomas approved the closure as the council is keen to sell the site for use as affordable housing and wants to get planning approval before rules change, in June next year, which could mean as the site is within a flood risk area it can no longer be developed despite already being in use.
Users of the centre, their families and supporters staged a demonstration earlier in December against the closure plans with many calling for it to be re-opened and complaining they had felt isolated without a base for the support service.
Monmouthshire County Council’s people scrutiny committee will now consider a request for a rethink on the plans at its special meeting, known as a ‘call in’, to be held at County Hall, in Usk, at 10.30am on Tuesday, January 3.
The call in has been requested by Simon Howarth, the independent councillor for Llanelly Hill, Independent Group leader France Taylor, Richard John, the leader of the Conservative group and David Jones independent member for the Crucorney ward.
The request for the call in states it is due to the decision having been made without scrutiny and that it wasn’t on the cabinet’s work planner.
The councillors also say there has been no consultation with users of the centre or representative groups and they say it is “vital” for those with severe needs.
They also cite that the building is on a flood plain as a reason for the call in.
At the committee the councillors will be able to outline their objections while a justification for the decision will also be made.
The committee will have to decide whether it should refer the decision back to Cllr Thomas, or the full cabinet, to reconsider along with comments it has made, or it can ask the full council to look at it and decide whether the cabinet needs to think again.
Alternatively, the committee can accept the cabinet member’s original decision.
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