Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Parents Protest over Nurseries Closures

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Parents Protest over Nurseries Closures

Article excerpt

Byline: Sonia Sharma Reporter

A GROUP of children and parents braved the wet weather to stage a protest against plans to close council-run nurseries.

The campaigners, holding 'Save Our Nurseries' placards, gathered at North Tyneside Council's Quadrant headquarters, at the Cobalt business park to voice their concerns over the authority's proposals.

The council is planning to close the Wallsend and Shiremoor nurseries by September this year, and Riverside and Oaktrees, in North Shields, by September 2017.

Elsewhere, Battle Hill Nursery could be transferred to Battle Hill Primary School while Denbigh Nursery, in Howdon, could be transferred to Denbigh Community Primary School by July this year.

The authority, which is facing huge Government cuts and must save over PS53m over the next three years, says a final decision on the proposals will be made in March. However the plans have sparked objections among parents who have children at the affected sites.

A Facebook page, titled Save North Tyneside Children's Centre Nursery (Sure Start), has been set up and a petition with more than 3,000 signatures has been handed in to the council. The group has now been told the issue is likely to be debated at the next full council meeting in February.

Anna Brown, of Cullercoats, whose two-year-old daughter Paige attends Wallsend nursery, says she will have to find alternative childcare for her daughter if the facility is closed.

She, and fellow campaigners, have found that other nurseries have waiting lists and say there are not enough childcare places available.

Anna, 35, a teacher in adult education, said: "The weather was not great on Thursday but parents still came out to show how they felt about these plans.

"Councillors, who were going into a meeting, knew we were there and some of them came and spoke to the parents about our concerns, which was a positive thing.

"We were told that the matter would be debated at a full council meeting in February and we plan to put our case forward there. …

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