A councillor has described a proposal to close down the Children’s Centre in Leatherhead as a “devastating blow for local families”.

Surrey County Council announced last week its proposal to scrap services at the Leatherhead Trinity Children’s Centre as part of a bid to slash £200 million from their budget by 2021.

The proposal would see Dorking Nursery School Sure Start Children's Centre become the County Council’s only Children’s Centre for Mole Valley.

Leatherhead North councillor Emma Norman said: “This is a devastating blow for local families. North Leatherhead is an area of high deprivation and the existing Leatherhead Trinity Children’s Centre is a lifeline for families with young children.

“It is very disappointing that Surrey County Council has not done more to investigate how they could retain the Children’s Centre here and make it economically viable.

“Local families cannot be expected to access services from up to an hour away by public transport in South Dorking.”

The leader of Surrey County Council David Hodge said: “With children’s centres, our aim is to focus our resources on families who need our support most so they get help early on and we can try and prevent them needing social care services in the future.

“We want to create a network of hubs around the county which support children right up until they’re 11 rather than five as now and targeting areas with most need.

“We are consulting on proposals to close some centres but the service is not just about buildings. Outreach workers will visit families in their homes and partners would work with us to provide the right help at the right time.”

The councillor for Leatherhead North also urged residents to sign a petition submitted to Surrey county council by John Moyer, who manages the Leatherhead Living Facebook page.

The petition, which contains 180 signatures, reads: “We the undersigned petition Surrey County Council to Retain a Children's Centre for Leatherhead and the north of Mole Valley” .

Mr Moyer said: “Surrey County Council hasn’t made any sense on what it’s offer to families in need in the north of the district will be if this facility and outreach in Bookham and Ashtead doesn’t continue.

“Accessing Dorking Goodwyns is out of the question for many. Epsom may be a little easier but it’s still out of locality when you are on a budget.”

The petition, called “Retain a Children's Centre for Leatherhead / the north of Mole Valley”, will expire on January 2. You can find and sign it online on www.petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/list.

You can also share your views with Surrey County Council until January 4 on www.surreysays.co.uk/csf/family-resilience-childrens-centres.