Chestnut Nursery parents have been joined by Brixham Town Councillors, residents and businesses in the protest against the proposed closure of Chestnut Nursery and Pre-School by Torbay Council.
There has been shock at the short consultation period. Parents were informed of the proposals in writing on Friday, November 16 and the consultation ends on Monday, November 26. The final decision will be made by the Mayor of Torbay at the Council meeting on the December 6.
Chestnut Nursery provides wrap-around care for 0-5 year olds in Brixham and was awarded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in its most recent report.
Torbay Council claims that there are places available at alternative Early Years provisions for Chestnut Nursery children. However, since the proposed closure was announced, parents have failed to find appropriate places for their children within any of the registered childcare providers within Brixham.
Brixham Town Councillor Lynne Armstrong criticised the move to close Chestnut Nursery. “Torbay Council is attacking Brixham’s future. Early years education and childcare for hardworking parents is not a ‘business’, it is an investment in attracting young people to Brixham and preparing their children for achieving their potential at school,” she said.
“Chestnut Nursery was purpose-built with national taxpayers money through Sure Start, and now Torbay Council wants to throw that investment away for short-term savings. It’s a disgrace, and they didn’t even have the decency to consult Brixham Town Council.”
Laura Cameron, parent of two children currently attending Chestnut Nursery, said: “The strength of feeling and support for our campaign has been incredible, we set up the Facebook group ‘Save Chestnut Nursery and Preschool from closure’ on Wednesday 21st November and within 24 hours we had over 1500 members, this figure now stands at over 1700.”
Over 60 local businesses have pledged their support to the campaign by displaying posters in their windows. Petitions are being signed locally and on the Change.org website. The Action Group are working closely with Brixham Town Council to plan the next steps in the campaign.
The Action Group and supporters plan to attend the council meeting at Oldway Mansion on the December 6 to present their petition to the Mayor in person.