BRAINTREE Council is still looking for new tenants for the site of a former children's centre.

The PARC (Essex) premises, in Great Notley, closed in June 2022 due to the charity being in financial difficulties.

The site provided play and recreation facilities for children and young adults with additional needs in the Braintree area.

After its closure many families were left without support and a space for their children, until POP Essex was founded in July 2022 to fill the void left by PARC.

Braintree and Witham Times: Overgrown - Braintree Council's horticultural operatives tending to the PARC grounds in Great Notley last yearOvergrown - Braintree Council's horticultural operatives tending to the PARC grounds in Great Notley last year (Image: Braintree Council)

Braintree Council is the landlord of the PARC site and POP Essex hoped to become the new tenant of the building, but the charity has confirmed this will not happen.

Braintree Council has now confirmed its plans for the building's future.

A spokesman said: “Our position is to ensure the building is put back into good use and that the organisation operating it operates it safely, efficiently and, most importantly, sustainably over the long term.

“We are working in partnership with Essex County Council, the statutory authority responsible for the commissioning of special educational needs and disability services, on getting that process right.

“We know how important the building and the services it provides are to families and children with complex needs.

“We hope to be able to celebrate the news of a new tenant opening the building soon.”

Braintree Council is required to identify a suitable tenant for the building.

Braintree Council is not responsible for delivering services for children with special and educational needs.

That comes under Essex County Council’s remit.

An alternative “being explored” is for Braintree Council to lease the premises to Essex County Council so it can sublet it to contracted short breaks providers.

Braintree and Witham Times: Past - PARC staff at the premises when it was activePast - PARC staff at the premises when it was active (Image: Public)

The statement said: “The benefits of this option are that Essex Council have already run an open procurement process and selected suitable providers, who are appropriately contract managed for quality, performance, and financial viability.

“Additional benefits of this approach are that short breaks or similar provision might also operate from the premises in arrangement with the contracted provider.

“Enabling a wide range of local organisations to make use of the space to deliver services for children and young people with SEND. 

"Both councils believe this approach will bring the most positive outcome for local children and young people with SEND and their families, and will also mean that other local SEND organisations can benefit too."