Appeal for new nursery care in Petworth

Sophie Venton with her son Alex
Sophie Venton with her son Alex

PETWORTH town councillors have added their weight to a campaign to save nursery care in the town,

Working mum Sophie Venton launched an appeal for help after Busy Bees which shares a site with the primary school, announced at short notice, that it was to close on March 31.

She told town councillors at their meeting on Thursday (February 18): “The problem is that there are a number of us who work full time and need day care.

“The closest nursery is Midhurst or Pulborough and for those without transport this is a massive problem.

“If this facility closes it is going to cause a lot of problems for people.”

She said Busy Bees was ideally placed being on the same site as the family centre and the primary school.

County councillor Janet Duncton said West Sussex County Council was on the case and advertisements had been placed so see if a new company would take the facility over.

Petworth Primary School head was also working behind the scenes.

But Chichester councillor Eileen Lintill warned town councillors any new organisation would have to be Ofsted registered which could take up to 26 weeks.

“It’s not as simple as someone saying ‘yes we will do it’.

She said it was unlikely that a new group could take over by the March 31 deadline.

“If Busy Bees had told us last year they were considering closing, it would have helped ,” she said.

Town council Chris Kemp said: “There is a whole pile of complication in this and I am not sure what we can do apart from apply pressure where we can.”

Town councillors are appealing to Busy Bees that as they gave such short notice to parents, they should carry on temporarily until an alternative can be found.

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