WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Childcare crisis warning over Queen’s Park nursery closure

Site owners want nursery out so land can be sold to developers

21 September, 2018 — By Brittany O'Neill

The parent campaign protest outside last week 

PARENTS have warned of a “childcare crisis” after being told their nursery will close down in less than four months.

Mother-of-two Ramsey Sargent is worried about what will happen when Queens Park Community Nursery shuts down.

The nursery in Macroom Road is rated “outstanding” but is having to move out after the land- lord United Colleges announced it was putting the site up for sale.

Ms Sargent said: “Finding another nursery is going to be a disastrous scenario. I have already called one nursery and they did not even have any visits until the end of the year. If I can’t find another nursery for my kids to go to, it could turn into a childcare crisis.”

Ms Sargent, 44, added: “It is incredibly disruptive for them [the children] and they can’t seem to comprehend that it’s going. It is a small nursery and all of the teachers are always very attentive.

“The thought of them going somewhere else makes me concerned. Will they be nurtured and loved as much?”

Around 30 parents, campaigners and politicians attended a protest against the closure last Thursday. A petition has been launched online to keep the nursery going.

The campaigners accept that the land is being sold by the developer but want to be able to stay until a deal is done, or the building is finally demolished.

Labour Westminster North MP Karen Buck, who attended the protest, said: “There will be major planning issues given that the site is currently designated as for educational use, and it is entirely reasonable to assume that an arrangement can be made

or the long term as part of the wider redevelopment.” Na Zhao, a mother who is heading up the campaign, said: “Since when did people put profit over the children in this country?

“Who is going to be responsible for the mental health of all these children and all the inconvenience, stress and extra work caused to our life?”

An email response to her from the chief executive of United Colleges, seen by the Extra, said: “We discussed the possibility of allowing the nursery to continue to operate from the site for as long as possible – at least until completion of a sale and, subject to the views of the ultimate purchaser, perhaps beyond.”

The Queen’s Park nursery is run by the London Early Years Foundation with up to 44 places for under-fives.

Its chief executive, June O’Sullivan, told the Extra she was “pessimistic” about moving the nursery, finding a new home nearby, adding: “The rents in the area are too high and I can’t continue running the nursery if I don’t know where we are going.”

She said children had been offered places at other nurseries run by the organisation, adding: “When closures have happened in the past, we have proven to move some staff along with the children to different nurseries. My team will always be looked after.”

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