DUDLEY Council chiefs have thanked more than 1,500 residents who completed a consultation on the future of the borough's children’s centres.

The consultation, which ran from November 12 to Friday January 10, attracted 1,528 completed forms plus a 4,118-name petition.

After the plan sparked outrage from parents who use the facilities - Councillor David Sparks, leader of Dudley Council, pledged part-way through the consultation not to close any of the centres for the foreseeable future - despite working against a backdrop of reduced government cash to run the service.

And now all views have been collected he now hopes to find more effective ways to deliver and manage children's centre services in the future.

Cllr Sparks said: “Meaningful engagement with residents is a fundamental priority for us as a community council so I would thank everyone who has taken part in the children’s centres consultation.

"Armed with this feedback we can now go back to the draft proposals and put forward alternative, innovative draft plans to make the £2.3million savings required due to the significant cut back in government funding.”

Councillor Tim Crumpton, Dudley's cabinet member for children’s services, said: "We are delighted to have received so much feedback in our consultation around the future of children’s centres.

"This is an unprecedented response to a single issue consultation and shows how important it is that we get this right.

"We have already made the commitment to keep the 20 centres open and we will now look to put forward proposals to the make the savings required due to the cutbacks in national funding we face.”

Draft proposals around a new model to deliver the service will go before a meeting of the authority’s overview and scrutiny board on Monday (January 20) before a decision is taken by the council’s cabinet on February 12.