Families fighting to keep 19 children's centres open in Bucks have been dealt a blow after a judge turned down their judicial review.

Campaigners say they are "very disappointed" at the ruling - but vowed to continue their fight and are now seeking permission to take their argument to the court of appeal.

Bucks County Council decided in March to close 19 of the 35 centres it operates, with the remaining restructured into ‘Family Centres’ offering a different model of provision.

The decision upset hundreds of families who rely on their vital services - and one 32-year-old mum from High Wycombe, who wants to stay anonymous to protect her children, rallied lawyers to apply for a judicial review.

A hearing was held on July 2 and 3 - but it has today be revealed that the judge did not rule in favour of pressing on with a judicial review.

If an appeal is unsuccessful, the count council's new Family Support Service - which they say is designed to improve the lives of children and families - will be launched in September.

James Betts, the public law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office who is representing the campaigners, said: “We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of this judicial review and are currently discussing the options with our client including an appeal against the decision.

“Our client brought this case as the children centres in Buckinghamshire have been invaluable to her and her family.

"She remains of the view that the planned closures will have a major negative impact on her children and others families and young children across Buckinghamshire.

"We are aware that many families have found the current situation hugely distressing and it is important that their voices have been heard.”

The county council has welcomed the ruling.

Warren Whyte, cabinet member for children’s services said: “We are very pleased with the court’s decision to dismiss this judicial review.

"It is regrettable, however, that we have had to contest it at all, as this has been a very costly process – both financially and in terms of the time spent by our team in preparing for this hearing. These proceedings have caused anxiety for our staff and critically, could have shifted focus and energy away from the children and families who need our support.

“This has never been about withdrawing any services – quite the opposite; it’s about enhancing how we help families across Buckinghamshire with children of all ages.

"People who need extra support will be able to get it in a more targeted way under the new Family Support Service.

“The very reason we are making changes to our service is to make sure families and children in greatest need of help in Buckinghamshire get that help sooner.

"By providing those families the right support at the right time, as well as maintaining a universal offer for everyone at 16 family centres, we can work to prevent families’ issues escalating, by offering help before their problems get worse.”

The council says it is "committed" to using the 19 former children's centres for "alternate provision" from the autumn, which will be primarily for early year's benefit and community news.