A PETITION containing more than 1,000 signatures has been handed to the leader of the council urging him to keep a popular nursery open.
Little Chestnuts in Bletchley is one of the nurseries threatened with closure in the latest round of council cuts.
A group of parents and Councillor Liz Campbell handed the petition to council leader Cec Tallack during a protest outside the council’s Civic Offices on Tuesday.
Councillor Campbell, who spoke at the scrutiny meeting, said: “When you close down a nursery you close down a community resource, and local people were queuing up to sign our petition.
“There is no evidence that other local nurseries have spare places to accommodate the children who would need nursery care if the council shuts Little Chestnuts, which may mean parents having to give up jobs and go on to benefits.
“Little Chestnuts has a good OFSTED report and highly trained staff – there is no reason to close it.”
Bletchley mum Annette Pakes send her two children to Little Chestnuts Nursery.
She told the scrutiny committee: “The nearest alternative nurseries, assuming that they have places, are nearly two miles away.
“Over half our parents don’t drive and public transport is poor.
“How are we supposed to get our children there?”
Single mum Vanessa Ginnelly, whose two-year-old son Pheonix attends Little Chestnuts, faces a life on benefits if the nursery closes.
She said: “If this nursery closes, I will need to give up work and claim benefits. That is not adding to the economy.
“It seems as though the council is saying that it’s OK for mums in Bletchley to stay at home and claim benefits.”