CLOSING a Kidderminster respite centre for disabled children would allow the county council to spend £1 million refurbishing a similar unit in Malvern.

Ludlow Road, which offers short overnight breaks to some of Worcestershire's most severely disabled youngsters, has been classed as neither “operationally viable or cost-effective” by Worcestershire Health and Care Trust - meaning it could permanently close.

The county council’s cabinet will meet today (June 6) to decide whether to put closure plans for Ludlow Road to the public for consultation. It would mean £1 million could be spent on upgrading facilities at Osborne Court short breaks unit in Malvern.

This comes after Ofsted inspectors said Ludlow Road had to be a four-bed self-contained unit which would no longer be value for money.

Sue Harris, the health trust’s director of strategy, said the potential closure of Ludlow Road was based on economies of scale.

She said: “The council commission from us, as a provider, a set number of beds and clearly if you’ve therefore got fewer beds on one site, most of your overheads and your workforce are fixed, whether it’s four or six [beds], so your bed price does go up. It’s just not operationally viable.

“We have spoken in the trust for some time about wanting to make sure we have got the best environments that are fit for purpose and Osborne Court is that.”

Currently, around 20 families use the four available beds at Ludlow Road.

The refurbishment plans for Osborne Court includes a new four-bed children's unit, available on weekdays, with two of the beds commissioned by the council.

A new five-bed adult’s unit would be available seven days a week and the existing one-bed Thorn Lodge facility would be available to children and young adults on weekdays to help the transition between children’s and adult’s care.

An existing five-bed unit open seven days a week would remain.

Health bosses say the type of upgrades proposed at Osborne Court would not be possible at Ludlow Road.

No staff are expected to be made redundant if Ludlow Road did close.

If the consultation goes ahead, cabinet would again meet in September to make a final decision.

The closure could take place as early as April 2020 if the plan went ahead.

Parents and Wyre Forest Labour members involved in a campaign to keep the centre open last year have already spoken out against the proposal.