CONCERNS raised by parents over the impending closure of a nursery in Harwich has prompted an MP to take action.

Oaklea Montessori, in Windmill Children's Centre, Mayes Lane, Ramsey, is on the brink of shutting down for good.

The nursery, which opens from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, provides childcare for children up to five years of age.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and North Essex, has now contacted the chief executive of Essex County Council, Gavin Jones, over the closure.

He wrote: “As one of only two nurseries in the area that offer 9-5 care, this closure has caused concern among parents, and I share their concern over the lack of current alternative services in place to support this loss. 

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Action - MP Sir Bernard JenkinAction - MP Sir Bernard Jenkin (Image: PA)

“It is crucial that alternative arrangements are made to ensure the continued provision of quality childcare services in the community.

"Many working parents rely on the extended hours offered by Oaklea Montessori, and finding suitable alternatives may prove challenging for them.”

Essex County Council has since assured Sir Bernard it has been working closely with the owners of Oaklea Montessori Nursery to find a way to keep the nursery open until a new childcare provider can be found to take over the running of the nursery provision.

Meetings with parents are also said to have taken place.

“Oaklea Montessori has been offered a sufficiency grant whilst work is undertaken to identify a new childcare provider in the hopes this will allow enough time for a new provider to be identified and take over the nursery from the start of the Summer 2024 term," added Sir Bernard. 

“I am hopeful local families should continue to be able to access their usual childcare during this period and will seek updates closer to the summer term.

“I am, however, aware more childcare providers are facing significant financial sustainability issues across Essex and this is also a wider national issue, with local authorities across the country reporting concerns to the Department for Education. 

“As such, I will be writing to the Minister urgently asking what the government plans to do to address this.”