Little Owls closures: Leeds parents stage protest to save Kentmere, Chapel Allerton and Gipton North nurseries

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Campaigners against the possible closure of nurseries voiced their concerns in a rally outside the city’s council offices.

The future of Little Owls Nurseries was put under review as part of multi-million pound budget cuts by Leeds City Council.

Three of the centres – Kentmere, Chapel Allerton and Gipton North – were already confirmed as being at risk of closure.

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But the council decided to delay the possible closures until August at the earliest in response to feedback from parents.

Little Owls Chapel Allerton is one of those listed as at risk of closure. Picture: Tony JohnsonLittle Owls Chapel Allerton is one of those listed as at risk of closure. Picture: Tony Johnson
Little Owls Chapel Allerton is one of those listed as at risk of closure. Picture: Tony Johnson

Parents gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall to lobby councillors ahead of a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday (April 17).

Mum-of-two Hattie Hodgson-Crome, of action group Stop the Closure of Little Owls Nurseries, said parents were worried about finding alternative nursery provision.

She said: “We’re here today to let Leeds City Council know they need to rethink the closure of Little Owls Nurseries.

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“It’s an incredible valuable resource for our community, especially for families of children with additional needs.”

Ms Hodgson-Crome said parents were concerned the council may be proposing the closures solely to save money.

She added: “We think the decision has potentially been made in a closed-off manner, and based on finances.”

Leeds City Council said the proposed closures were postponed to ensure children starting school this September were not adversely affected.

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A spokesperson said: “We are also confident, through our sufficiency analysis, that this would enable all affected children to be accommodated in appropriate alternative provision, including other Little Owls settings.

“As we have previously stated, we understand the concerns of parents, carers, staff and communities which could be affected by the proposals.

“These are proposals at this stage and we are continuing to engage with parents, carers and other stakeholders before any final decisions are made.”

Little Owls operates 24 nurseries around the city.