Ellesmere Port parents have been left looking for child care after shock new year notice that a nursery near the M53 is to close.
The letter came from Cheshire Day Nurseries on December 30 revealing that Rivacre Academy on Forest Road would cease on January 31.
At the last Ofsted, the ‘Good’ nursery had 22 staff with 147 youngsters on its roll.
Open from 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday, fees are £682.50 a month full time as a guide according to the company’s web site.
Their letter said: “It is with great sadness that we are writing to inform you that Rivacre Academy is closing, the last operational day will be Tuesday, January 31.
“This letter forms notice for you and your children.
“We have made this decision with heavy hearts. We have been providing child care in Ellesmere Port for more than 12 years, however due to decreasing child numbers, issues concerning late payments from some parents and delays in funding payments from CWaC (Cheshire West and Chester Council) the planned investment into the design, build, set up and launch of a new build nursery is no longer viable.”
In 2014 the company had outline approval for a new nursery and up to 24 homes from borough planners on a 9-2 vote.
It also gave notice that parents of fee paying children and those attending breakfast, after school and holiday clubs at the nursery should pay fees in full by today (January 3).
“If full fees are not received we will be unable to accept your child in nursery from this date,” the academy added.
The nursery’s website explains: “We will support the varying needs of families. We have an Early Years qualified teacher working with our pre-school children and we offer excellent extracurricular activities including Spanish classes.
“We have extensive outdoor play facilities and an adventure playground. Our indoor facilities include large open play areas and two computer and language suites.”
The academy is ‘conveniently situated a quarter of a mile from junction 7 on the M53’ it adds.
Taking to the Pride in the Port Facebook, pages Mandy Neill said: “Gutted to receive a letter today telling me Rivacre Academy is closing for good at the end of January.”
Stacey Louise Thompson added: “I’m gutted myself. Haven’t had my letter yet but my son also goes there after school and in the holidays. I’m in panic mode now as I have no idea where to look or what to do now for child care.”
Danielle Cullen commented: “What a horrible situation, I have to say it must be awful for the staff as well as in those who didn’t know.”
Susan Randles suggested: “I suppose it is a prime site for development.”
Parent Dave Appleton contacted The Chronicle to say he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the closure.
He said: “As a parent who uses this nursery I was amazed to receive a letter through the post advising me that I was being given one month’s notice regarding the closure of the nursery.
“This was without any warning with the management team continuing to take our money through a voucher scheme which we have been told is not refundable.
“Also all of the staff at the nursery have received the same letter advising them that they are being made redundant but also that there will be a requirement that they work in other sites, as far away as Warrington, to work their notice.
“If they don’t agree to this they may end up forfeiting their redundancy payment.”
He added: “I find it shocking that an organisation can have such little regard for the children attending their nursery to advise parents over a bank holiday that the nursery will be closing down.
“I appreciate that nurseries do close down, however, the way this has been managed by the directors is shocking.
“We have used the nursery for years and have paid thousands of pounds for the use of their service and find it very disappointing that we would be informed through a letter in a bank holiday weekend without any means to discuss our concerns.”
Referring to the bank holiday aspect the nursery said:“As per our nursery policy, parents are required to receive one calendar month’s notice if the decision is taken to close the nursery.
“The letters were posted on December 30 to ensure parents received the full notice period they are entitled to.”