Last year, Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet tried to close and dispose of Tudor Street day centre in Abergavenny behind closed doors, with the intention of flogging the land for development.
The decision was taken by one cabinet member (who has since been relieved of his duties) without any scrutiny or consultation. Opposition parties intervened and stopped the decision, which was later withdrawn and put on ice pending the publication of an external expert review into the ‘My Day, My Life’ service.
Tudor Street day centre had to close during the Covid pandemic but had been used as a base for adults with learning difficulties and remains a cherished facility by the community. When the change of administration from Conservative to Labour occurred at the start of May 2022, Wales was in Alert Level Zero of the Welsh Government’s Covid restrictions. Only a month earlier had they eased the restrictions on things like wearing face coverings in shops and continued to be essential in all health and social care settings.
When it closed at the start of the pandemic, it was purely due to the risk to the public – there was no ulterior agenda to close it and closure had never been discussed as an option. Indeed, when the decision was made late in 2022 to close the centre, it came as a shock to everyone.
In April 2023, the expert review was published and recommended a physical base for the service and the building at Tudor Street is now one of several locations, including the Melville Theatre, supposedly under active consideration by the Council’s cabinet. Back in July we were promised a decision in September, but that now seems to be have been delayed until later in the autumn, but perhaps the administration can use this as an opportunity to constructively engage with campaigners.
Opposition parties on the council have now put forward a motion for the council meeting next week urging fellow councillors to back the reopening of Tudor Street as an interim measure why the administration completes its evaluation of long-term provision. It may be the case that councillors in the ruling group are whipped to support a particular position, but we hope that this non-partisan move will attract support from across the council chamber. At the end of the day, this is about the best interests of vulnerable adults and those who care for them. I hope we can all come together to make the right decision for families who need this service.