Axe falls on St Albans learning disabilities day centre

A ST Albans day centre is to be closed as part of the modernisation of daytime services for people with learning disabilities. Butterwick Day Centre in Hixberry Lane provides services for over 130 people daily from all over the district. But the county co

A ST Albans day centre is to be closed as part of the modernisation of daytime services for people with learning disabilities.

Butterwick Day Centre in Hixberry Lane provides services for over 130 people daily from all over the district.

But the county council is proposing to close it in line with current practice that large isolated buildings should be replaced by premises which allow for greater flexibility and inclusion into mainstream community life.

The proposal, which was agreed by the county council's cabinet this week, is to create a new "hub" for the services Butterwick currently provides by reusing the former Cunningham Library building in Cell Barnes Lane which closed two years ago.


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The building would require significant upgrading, including the installation of a lift, and its use could be shared with other local community groups.

Another "hub" facility will be provided in Harpenden - possibly at the High Street Methodist Church Hall which is being used on a trial basis at present.

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There will also be a number of outreach projects in both St Albans and Harpenden, some of which have been implemented on a trial basis, and include use of Fleetville Community Centre, Greenwood Community Centre, St Albans Baptist Church Hall in Dagnall Street and Earthworks.

The Butterwick site would then be sold off and even though it is in the Green Belt, the county council believes it would get planning permission for a residential development.

Richard Smith, the county council's executive member for adult care and health, said that attitudes about how best to provide facilities for people with learning disabilities had changed since the sixties and seventies when day care centres were built in remote locations.

He added: "The aim is to get people with learning disabilities more involved in community life. This programme will not only achieve that, it will also mean that they enjoy better facilities in a modern setting, in many cases closer to home."

He stressed that users of Butterwick and the other day centres affected in Herts were being kept informed at every stage and the feedback had been positive so far.

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