'There are lots of unanswered questions': Parent's concern over temporary closure of Aylesbury Opportunities Centre

Bucks County Council offices
Bucks County Council offices

A parent has told The Bucks Herald they are concerned about the impact of Bucks County Council's temporary closure of the Aylesbury Opportunities Centre.

Under plans announced by the council last month, the Opportunities Centre will be subject to a 12 month closure to allow redevelopment work to take place.

This will happen if the county council's residential short break service is transferred from Beaconsfield to Aylesbury - a proposal that the council is consulting on until March 13.

The parent, who lives in Chesham with her daughter, aged 27, who is confined to a wheelchair and has to be fed through a tube told this paper: "I chose Aylesbury for my daughter because it is the most suitable location for her.

"It is a lovely building with great staff and she is very happy at the centre.

"Initially, when I saw the plans for Seeley's I did not pay much attention because I had not realised that Aylesbury Opportunities Centre was affected.

"Any new respite centre at Aylesbury would take over 50% of the building.

"Up to 80 families will be forced to look for an alternative service during the closure and I think the majority will not be able to go back when it re-opens."

Campaigners claim they asked Bucks County Council for details of how many people used the Aylesbury Opportunities Centre but they did not receive the information until just a few days before the original consultation deadline - which has now been extended.

Bucks County Council put information on to their Frequently Asked Questions page in which they listed the capacity at Aylesbury Opportunities Centre as:

> 63 regular users of the centre

> 11 Spectrum users - who are based at the site but use a separate centre

> 6 Branching Out users - who are based at the site but use a separate centre

> 17 wheelchair users

> Three users who have a one to one carer who attends the centre

> One user who brings their own one to one carer to the centre

> Three clients in wheelchairs who have one to one care with AOC staff

The parent added: "It is wrong for a proposal to be put to cabinet without people being properly consulted.

"We have to know the capacity of the centre and the number of people who use it.

"How will users be assessed if they are going to be moved to a different centre - a private company?

"My daughter uses the day centre two days a week - I can work and have a break because the team at the centre look after her.

"If it is closed, even temporarily, we would lose a lifeline - we still have lots of questions unanswered."