PARENTS and campaigners have vowed to fight on to secure the long term future of a Kidderminster respite care unit for disabled children after it was given a stay of execution.

A report going to Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet next week is recommending keeping Ludlow Road Short Breaks Unit open for the remainder of the 2018-19 financial year – months after cost cutting proposals that could have seen it closed were put forward.

But the report warns that financial savings still have to be made across the council’s overall service.

The plan to axe Ludlow Road sparked anger and concern amongst worried parents with Wyre Forest Labour group launching a campaign to save the unit.

A total of 8,225 signed petitions against the closure while freedom of information requests, submitted by Labour’s Stephen Brown, had revealed health bosses had raised concerns over the potential closure of Ludlow Road for the past two years.

The consultation process was also heavily criticised in a report by the authority’s Scrutiny Task Group, chaired by Kidderminster councillor Fran Oborski, who described it as “haphazard and confused”. The report also said cost savings from closing Ludlow Road were not clear.

Parents of Ludlow Road users said they were pleased the unit was not being closed immediately but expressed disappointment the long-term future was still up in the air.

Tina Southall, whose daughter Dalcie uses Ludlow Road, told the Wyre Life site run by independent journalist Jane Haynes: “I feel that we have won a battle but we still need to win the war.

“We’re delighted that Ludlow Road will stay open until March but that’s only nine months away – we are ready to continue fighting.”

Amanda Danby – mum of Mason – added: “We are proud that with our commitment to this we have managed to keep Ludlow Road open for another nine months. We will not take our foot off and go away.”

Campaigner Tracey Rochelle said: “The unit would be closed by now if it wasn’t for the determination of the parents and supporters of our campaign.

“We are glad the council has finally listened and acted in the best interests of the children and their families.

Mr Brown said: “Let’s be clear, the Tory council has just kicked the can down the road on this issue.

“They haven’t really changed their minds, they’re just hoping to take the sting out of it by praying people will forget.

“But campaigners and parents are not daft. We’re still here, and as determined as ever. The fight goes on and we’re already planning the next phase.

“Labour will continue to support the children and their parents so the Council will have to come up with a long term sustainable solution to keep Ludlow Road open, permanently.”

Ben Davies, Labour Constituency Secretary added: “I’m so proud of everyone involved that helped us raise awareness from day one and since Labour started the campaign.

“It was amazing seeing people from all over the constituency and beyond support it.

“I want to praise the children’s parents in particular, who stuck at it in all weathers, collecting signatures from the public.

“It undoubtedly played a pivotal role in helping to raise their concerns with the council, leading to this decision.”

And Cllr Oborski said: “Whilst I welcome the fact that the Cabinet Member is recommending that the Ludlow Rd Short Breaks Unit stays open for this current financial year this is only one of 10 Recommendations which, in their entirety, mean that WCC will be continuing negotiations with the CCGs and Health and Care Trust around the future of all overnight Short Breaks for Children with Medical/ Special Needs.”

She added the Scrutiny Task Group will meet again next week to go through the cabinet report.

When the proposals were first announced, Worcestershire County Council – which provides £619,000 funding to the Health and Care Trust to run Ludlow Road – stressed all views would be taken into account in the consultation.

In his report, Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member for children and families, said parents expressed extreme concern over the plans to shut Ludlow Road and the impact it would have on their children during the consultation exercise and in meetings held with him.

Cabinet will meet on July 12 to discuss the issue.