Brent Council accused of failing parents in bid to takeover doomed nurseries

Angry mums and dad claim community plans for children’s centres thwrated

Parents have accused Brent Council of failing to give them enough help to take over a nursery.

The furious mums and dads, whose children go to Treetops nursery, in Doyle Gardens, Willesden, say the local authority is tied up in its own red tape and is unable to assist them in forming a Community Interest Company (CIC) which would allow them to take over the management of the popular pre-school.

The local authority wants to close Treetops as well as Harmony Children’s Centre nursery, in Bridge Road, Neasden.

It also wants to restructure Willow Children’s Centre, in Barnhill Road, Wembley, so it only takes children with disabilities and special needs.

Mother-of-two Charlotte Schilcher, of Furness Road, Harlesden, said: “Parents have met with the council to ask for help in setting up a CIC but requests have been rejected.

“The council has not proactively offered any help to parents. We have had to find information out ourselves. The council is paying lip service to parents who have spent months trying to meet and talk to councillors, researching council policy, writing business plans and petitioning.”

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The angry parents discovered half way through the consultation that despite being told they could approach private companies, they would not be able to show them around the premises. As a result they have lost interested parties.

Ms Schilcher said: “One of the parents has put together a viable business plan which breaks even. It’s staggering the council, through its own red tape or unwillingness, has been unable to do this.”

The parents are also angry that are being forced to find alternative child care in the middle on the academic year.

Concerned mother Kathryn Morgan said: “The chances of finding good standard child care within four weeks is extremely unlikely and given many parents have to give three months notice at their place of employment, some are considering resigning from their jobs.”

Private nurseries in the area can cost up to �75 per day but parents say they would provide a middle range price which is desperately needed in this community.

But Councillor Mary Arnold (Labour), lead member for children and families, said: “It is quite wrong to say the parents’ requests have been rejected.

“We met with parents on their request and have made available on the website a range of information asked for to respond to their general and specific questions.

“We have also responded to the request for more time by extending the period of the consultation until January 13.”