Playschool closure fear angers parents

A CAMPAIGN to save a nursery that has kept a prized city park free of alcoholics and drug addicts was launched this week

Sanchez Manning

A CAMPAIGN to save a nursery that has kept a prized city park free of alcoholics and drug addicts was launched this week.

Staff at the Independent Mothers Pre-School claim that they have been left in the dark by the council about their future after plans were announced to overhaul Broadley Street Gardens where they are located.

They say that the council notified them of plans to renovate the park due to subsidence problems last year, but gave no warning that the nursery may be sacrificed in the process.

After hearing that the playgroup's future may be under threat the play workers joined together with parents and community activists to fight to keep the nursery in the gardens.

At a meeting held on Thursday of last week a committee was formed and a petition drawn up.

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Carol Maku, 52, one of the supervisors from the playgroup who helped organise the event, said: "The council told us that we would have to close and be relocated while they fixed up the park after summer, but they did not tell us that we might not be reopening once the park was finished.

"I am fuming because the parks people have never been to see us and no-one bothered to ask what we or any of the parents think.

"We definitely want to come back here because we love these gardens and we spent about £5000 on refurbishing the building over the summer holidays."

She added: "Before the park was full of druggies and junkies, but having the playgroup here cleaned the place up now so people can come to sit and enjoy the scenery."

Joanna Norris, 33, one of the parents who rely on the nursery to look after her three-year-old son Sam said it would be terrible if it was moved.

"It will be awful if the pre-school closes," she said.

"I remember the park before the pre-school was there and it was full of drunks, but now it has completely changed.

"The nursery is wonderful and if it moved all the good it has done will be taken away."

Gary Townsend, also has a four-year-old son at the pre-school. He said: "I just don't understand why they would close it down. It is such a nice area and in a prime location.

"You wouldn't think it was in the middle of the city. My son has come on leaps and bounds since he joined the nursery and I hoped that my daughter would go there as well when she's old enough."

But the council have said that no definite decision has been made about whether the nursery will remain in the gardens and promised to involve the staff in any further discussions.

Children's commissioning boss Mike Potter said: "The council is committed to helping the Independent Mothers Pre-School.

"We are working together with the Parks Department to ensure the nursery has the most appropriate location to work from once the work has been completed.

"The council will involve the pre-school fully in these discussions."