Little Owls Nurseries: Leeds council to close four nurseries in the coming months due to 'significant budget pressures'

Leeds City Council is set to shut four inner-city nurseries in just a matter of weeks, documents seen by the Yorkshire Evening Post show.
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According to a “key decision” notice, Armley Chapel Lane, Richmond Hill, Dewsbury Road and Middleton Over 3s will each close their doors and merge with nearby nurseries.

The four sites are part of the council’s Little Owls network of nurseries, which help serve deprived communities in the city.

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The decision was published this week, and a report by officers claims the decision by the Director of Children and Families would save the council nearly half a million pounds next year.

The site in Armley Chapel Lane is set to merge with one in Armley Moor.The site in Armley Chapel Lane is set to merge with one in Armley Moor.
The site in Armley Chapel Lane is set to merge with one in Armley Moor.

Provision at Armley Chapel Lane is set to move to Armley Moor, which the document insists is “less than two miles away”. Little Owls Richmond Hill is set to move to Osmondthorpe, while the Dewsbury Road provision is set to move to New Bewerley. Middleton Over 3s is set to move to Middleton Laurel Bank.

In each case, the document states there will be enough space, as the new provisions currently have substantial places available.

According to the document, Armley Chapel Lane, Richmond Hill and Middleton Over 3s will close in January 2023, while the Dewsbury Road site will shut in April 2023.

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In addition to this, the council says 30 staff “will be affected” by the proposals, adding that consultation has already begun with trade unions.

In total, the council is expected to save £477,000 from the proposals.

The report stated: “Due to the significant budget pressure projections, the Little Owls provision has been identified as one of the services to be scrutinised by the Financial Health Task and Finish Group. To support this work, the Little Owls business review has now been expedited, with an initial phase facilitated by LCC officers.

“Within this initial phase of the review, the opportunity to amalgamate several Little Owls settings has been explored. The amalgamation of settings situated in close proximity of each other will result in business efficiencies without reducing a service to children and families.”