A CHILDREN’S respite home threatened with closure has been given a reprieve.

Essex County Council had planned to close Lavender House, in Stanway, in order to save money.

Parents opposed the plans, which were published just before Christmas, saying there was no safe alternative for the users, who are largely severely disabled children who can become violent.

But today Dick Madden, Essex County Council cabinet member for children and families, ruled out closing the home because no other plans could be put in place.

He said: “I recognise how critical respite care is and in particular the respite homes the council provides.

“These places will only close if alternatives which are agreed can be put in place.

“To date, I have not seen an alternative. They will not close.”

Mr Madden was speaking to the parent opposition group at Kingsland Church, in Lexden, when he made the announcement.

He added: “I was struck and humbled by the love and passion parents had for their children and that has certainly played its part here.

“I would never say never, because you never know what alternatives officers may come up, with but at the moment, there is no alternative, so we are not going down that road [of closing Lavender House].

“But rest assured, if we did go down that road, parents and users would have to consulted and we would go through this whole process again.”

Lavender House is one of two Essex County Council-run care homes which were earmarked for closure.

The other is Maples Respite Home, in Harlow, which Mr Madden also said would not close.