Queen's Park Nursery: MP Karen Buck joins parents' demonstration to save Maida Hill pre-school
PUBLISHED: 09:18 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:33 18 September 2018
Westminster North MP Karen Buck joined parents and children to protest the sudden closure of Queen's Park Nursery.
The nursery is being forced to close at the end of the autumn term as its landlord – United Colleges – is looking to sell the Maida Hill site, so families will have to make alternative arrangements midway through the academic year.
Community art and “makers” space Kindred Studios, which occupies the adjacent building, is also set to be turfed out.
Na Zhao, 30, is one of the parents leading the campaign. She told the Times: “It’s a life-changing event. For the kids it’s super hard, and I want to know why.”
Ramsey Sargent, another mum who is organising a petition, said: “We came to this nursery because it was outstanding, and my daughter absolutely loves it.”
Karen Buck told us: “The nursery and Westminster Council have now known for some time over the summer that this was going to happen [yet] somehow between them we’ve ended up finding out only a few weeks ago.”
Westminster’s opposition leader, Labour’s Cllr Adam Hug, is also parent to a child at the nursery. He said: “We are all angry. We want a long-term solution but at the very least one until the end of the academic year.”
The nursery is run by the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). Chief exec June O’Sullivan MBE called the parental support “heartwarming” and said: “After 16 years of serving families in the local community, it is with deep regret that Queen’s Park Nursery has been given notice to close at the end of the year. This is solely due to the college putting the building up for sale in September.”
LEYF said it has offered all children places at nurseries in the group, and redeployed all staff. Ms O’Sullivan added LEYF was working with Westminster Council to find new premises.
United Colleges said: “In 2015 we informed Queen’s Park Community Nursery of our intention to sell the Queen’s Park campus. We recognise the value the nursery provides to the community, and following the notice provided in 2015, we granted annual short-term extensions to its lease on favourable terms, to support the nursery.”
Westminster said: “We are keen to see it continue on its current site if possible.” It will “explore all options” with United Colleges.