Heartbroken parents have spoken of their devastation at a Harrogate nursery closing down after nearly 30 years - a move that’s been described as a hammerblow to provision in the area, with more than 50 families expected to be displaced, and 16 jobs lost.
Footprints Day Nursery, which is based in the grounds of Harrogate Grammar School, will be closing its doors at the end of this month after the school announced that it will not be extending the facility’s current lease beyond 2020.
The directors of the nursery said they have been unable to find a suitable and affordable site for an alternative, and added that it would be wrong to continue taking in new children knowing that the nursery is going to close.
Ella Davis, who takes her son to Footprints, said: “My son is currently being referred for an autism assessment as well as other health issues, and Footprints couldn’t have been any better in accommodating for his additional needs and making sure he has everything he needs.
“All the staff are just wonderful, and there is no other nursery in Harrogate like Footprints. I feel sick thinking about relocating my son and trying to settle him into another nursery - most nurseries in Harrogate have waiting lists or no availability for full-time places.
"Then there is the emotional attachment the children have to their key workers and the friendships they have made - not forgetting the repercussions it has for the rest of the family and working life.”
Richard Sheriff, the CEO of Red Kite Learning Trust that manages Harrogate Grammar School, said in a statement: “We are sorry to see the nursery close after so many years of it operating on our site. We have been in discussions with the owners for a couple of years regarding the future of their business on the site they currently occupy.
“The school campus has expanded over the last 10 years and the nursery is located in temporary buildings right next to our sixth form.
“Although we have no plans to develop this site in the immediate future, we did not want to enter into an extended lease that would prevent this prime site being utilised for the benefit of the young people and staff at the school.
“Footprints have been excellent neighbours for many years and we will miss them.”
Nursery directors Andrew and Susan Seeber said in a statement: “Yes there are other providers in the area, but now parents’ freedom of choice is being compromised by our imminent closure - the upset the children are going to experience is heartbreaking.
“Some of our staff have been here since it opened, and others for over 10 years - we are a small family business offering a family-orientated environment, and we believe this is one of the main reasons our nursery is so popular.”