County backs unit as Mike’s on his bike

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DERBYSHIRE County Council has opposed plans to close Darley Birth Centre due to “overwhelming” public support to keep it open.

The health service is reviewing the future of the unit in Darley Dale in a bid to save cash.

Now, as part of the consultation the county council has told the NHS it would like to see the centre retained.

At a meeting in Matlock on Monday the authority discussed how much it costs to keep Darley open and the need to ensure value for money balanced with the council’s aims to deliver services at a local level.

A spokesman for the council said: “There is considerable public support for maintaining local birth centres. Many local residents have expressed concerns to local elected members regarding the potential changes to the service.

“The views of local people are important and help the council to shape the delivery of services to meet local need, and should therefore play an important role in any decision making processes.”

Support for the centre has been spread even further thanks to Matlock business man Mike Blair who took part in a cycle challenge last week in a bid to support the threatened unit.

The Peli Deli owner cycled around Derbyshire – the equivalent height of Everest – and despite aching knees, punctures, damaged brakes and broken spokes he totted up a massive nine thousand metres of altitude while taking in some of the county’s most fearsome hills.

Mike whose second daughter was born earlier this year at Darley said: “I was delighted to be able to do something to support such a great service for the people of the Dales and beyond.”

The county council is hosting a meeting on Friday at 10.30am in Bakewell Town Hall to discuss the centre.