Brent Council votes to close two of its popular nurseries

But hope for Harlesden parents who want to take over Treetops

Parents are hopeful they could take over a popular children’s nursery despite Brent Council voting to close it this week.

Cuts in government funding means the local authority can no longer afford to subsidise the nurseries at Treetops Children’s Centre, in Doyle Gardens, Willesden, and Harmony Children’s Centre, in Bridge Road, Neasden.

The nursery at Harmony will close on March 30 while Treetops will shut on July 20.

However, the council has decided to see if any organisations want to rent the space at Treetops to run a nursery there.

Outside bodies, including campaigning parents, now have a month to prepare their case.

Concerned dad Justin Morgan, who spoke at the meeting, said: “With around �2million spent on developing this centre and more than 800 square feet of covered play space, this facility is second to none, not only locally, but also nationally.

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“It is the overriding feeling that to close such a class-leading facility after so much investment would be a wanton act of vandalism and an unforgivable criminal waste of taxpayers’ money, especially at a time when the council is making large scale investments in a new civic centre.”

The council says the centres are expected to make a total loss of more than �250,000 by the end of the financial year.

The parents have submitted their own proposal to take over Treetops, which they hope the council will consider.

Mr Morgan said: “Treetops is a place where parents are reminded of the wonder and priceless nature of childhood and how the right care and environment is essential in nurturing the innate potential in all our children.

“No matter what culture or social background, our children rub shoulder to shoulder as equals here.”

Charlotte Sones, whose daughter Margot goes to Treetops, said: “I’m really pleased that the executive committee agreed to keep Treetops open until the end of July and to open up the running of the nursery to private bidders.

“Of course we would have preferred the council to have kept running the nursery and to have offered the same options to Harmony but I’m a pragmatist and I’m happy there is light at the end of the tunnel for Treetops.”

The council also wants to restructure a third nursery at Willow Children’s Centre, in Wembley, which would prioritise children with special needs.

Cllr Mary Arnold, lead member for children and families, said: “Unfortunately, after the change in government policy and funding reductions, Brent can’t afford to subsidise all three nurseries, so we need to spend our limited funds on the children who need it most.