Elmbridge council urged to fully reopen day centres

Elmbridge residents have called on the borough council to fully reopen its day centres, saying the closures were a "loss for our whole community".

The council closed community centres in November for fire safety checks and staff training. Two months later, most are open only one day a week.

A petition by residents says people are missing out on services such as hot meals, yoga and hairdressing.

The council said a phased return was "vital" to build a resilient service.

Daily provision has returned to the borough, but services are spread throughout the centres, including the Cobham, Walton, Weybridge and Molesey centres, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'So many people missing out'

Tracey Melson, who volunteers at the Molesey Centre in Bishop Fox Way, said: "My mum died three years ago my dad didn't want to do anything.

"We managed to get him to go and now it's his complete and utter lifeline with a whole new friendship group he would never have had."

The petition says: "We feel it's such a loss for our whole community to be without these facilities now. To be open one day a week is helpful but there are so many people missing out due to the high demand."

Elmbridge Borough Council said it wanted to make sure it had the most appropriate support in place to meet the community's needs and that "ad hoc closures" were in place to support staff with safety training.

The council said it expected the part-closures to remain until early spring, by which time it hoped to be able to increase its offerings.

On Wednesday the council's cabinet will consider whether to lease the Thames Ditton Community Centre to resident group Vital Village.

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