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Parents ‘remain concerned’ as Orpington and Penge nurseries saved from closure

PUBLISHED: 11:47 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:37 02 October 2017

Community Vision nursery

Community Vision nursery

Archant

Lewisham West and Penge MP was involved in the fight to keep the nurseries open

A campaign to save two nurseries on opposite sides of the borough has proved successful, but parents are still concerned.

In July, parents at Community Vision and Blenheim Nursery, in Penge and Orpington respectively, received a letter from the council saying it could not afford to run both nurseries.

The letter stated the council was forking out £348,000 a year to run both sites.

It sparked immediate concerns from parents at Community Vision, which is already oversubscribed, and a campaign group soon rallied into action.

As the council ran a consultation on the proposals, Lewisham West and Penge MP Ellie Reeves stepped in, writing her own letter to Bromley council in which she described Community Vision as “fundamental in meeting demand for funded nursery places.”

The consultation was brought to a close in July, and on Monday the council announced it would not be closing either site.

Parent and campaigner Anna Brett said: “We’re delighted the council has listened to calls from across the community that this nursery cannot possibly be closed.

“It is a real relief to parents and our children who love the place. But we remain concerned about the council’s plans because they say they still want to make changes to the service. Anything that makes Community Vision less accessible for those who rely on it would be a disaster.”

The original letter to parents said the pre-school could potentially begin charging for refreshments and other subsidies, and changing the hours in which the nurseries are open

Councillor Peter Fortune, executive councillor for education, children and families said: “I am pleased to confirm that these popular nurseries are staying open and this makes absolute sense, especially in light of the feedback from the consultation but also because of other factors, including the need for nursery places for instance.”

“When looking at the longer term future of both nurseries, it was right to consider all the options, which the consultation allowed us to do. Now we are focussing on formulating plans to ensure that both nurseries will be viable sustainable over the long term.”

Ellie Reeves, MP for Lewisham West & Penge, said: “Saving Community Vision from closure is fantastic news for children and parents in Penge, especially families around the Groves Estate.

“Early years provision can make such a difference to the life chances of children and their ability to thrive at school in later years. I hope that Bromley council, under new leadership and with £100m in reserves, will ensure the long term commitment of first class nursery provision at Community Vision.”

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