THE leader of Lancashire County Council’s Labour group has warned the authority’s cutbacks in children and family services are putting an ‘outstanding’ pre-school at risk.

Cllr Azhar Ali has launched a campaign to reverse the proposed removal of the extra provision from Walton Lane Nursery in his Nelson East ward.

His action comes as the county council starts to implement the withdrawal of its Children, Family and Wellbeing Service from several buildings across its area.

The authority is currently consulting until Friday, March 8, on revised proposals affecting Burnley and Rossendale boroughs. and its cabinet will take a final decision on provision in Nelson in April.

The proposed changes are part of a £77million package of savings by 2022 announced by the county council's Conservative administration in November.

The revised proposals include providing the Children and Family Wellbeing service from the Chai Centre in Burnley and the Whitegate Children’s Centre in Padiham and withdrawing it from the Stoneyholme and Daneshouse and Padiham young people’s centres, and from Whitworth Library and not from the town’s young people’s and children’s centres.

Cllr Ali said: “Over the last few years the budget of Walton Lane Nursery, judged outstanding by Ofsted inspectors in 2016, has been cut, with 16 members of staff losing their jobs.

“Now Lancashire County Council is considering withdrawing its Children, Family and Wellbeing Service from the nursery which could lead to closure.

“Walton Lane nursery has been a jewel in Lancashire’s crown when it comes to delivering excellent services and serves some of the most deprived parts of Nelson, including Marsden and Southfield.

“The withdrawal of this service would cripple the nursery's finances and threaten closure as well as having a massive impact on kids with complex special educational needs.”

Louise Taylor, county council health and wellbeing director, said: “A final decision on the Walton Lane proposal is due to be taken in April after the consultation covering Burnley and Rossendale is complete.

“We remain committed to providing the best services we can, particularly to the people in greatest need.

“The Children and Family Wellbeing Service is a key part of this. However, the council’s financial position remains extremely challenging.

“The way the service works has changed. It’s now much more about getting out and about.

“We’ve considered people’s views and altered our proposals in Burnley and Rossendale.”

Burnley Council leader Cllr Mark Townsend said any changes the county council made should be needs-based.