Parent power set to save nurseries?

Parents protest to save Russell Street Nursery
Parents protest to save Russell Street Nursery

PARENTS are drawing out their battle plans as they aim to fight closures to council nurseries around the city.

Hundreds of working mothers and fathers of children attending council run nurseries voiced their opinions at a boisterous Cabinet meeting held at the Civic Offices on Tuesday night.

And campaigners, who protested outside the building before the meeting, won an early victory when plans to merge Russell Street Day Nursery in Stony Stratford with Fullers Slade based Rowans were withdrawn.

It was also agreed that the future management of four other nurseries – Fledglings at Kents Hill, Bletchley’s Little Chestnuts, Westcroft and Wolverton – would be put to further consultation involving parents, nurseries and parish councils.

But proposals to transfer children at Kingston’s day nursery to Bridges children’s centre, from Playzone to Hedgerows on Netherfield and from Rowans nursery to Rowans children’s centre were approved.

The Russell Street decision was withdrawn while further investigations take place after the council admitted an oversight had led to it neglecting the building. Cliff Brett, whose 20-month-old daughter is registered at the nursery, said: “The council should be embarrassed. We would invite you to Russell Street but the building has been closed.

“It is the only nursery in the area that was given an outstanding report by Ofsted.

“There is a shortfall of around £7,000 between refurbishing it and closing it completely which we as parents would be more than happy to raise.”

Campaigners looking to keep the nursery open collected 600 signatures in two hours when they took to the streets of Stony Stratford last week.

And parent Annette Parmar said: “The council have been aware for two years of the problems the building has had.

“I can’t believe it has been overlooked that the building was in such a state of disrepair and it is disgusting that the council take our money for such a shocking provision.”

Protester Maria Samson added: “All parents will be looking to save all of their respective nurseries and we will do what we can throughout the consultation period.”

The 12 week consultation will start after next week’s half term break. A final decision will be made in August.