Parents of youngsters who attend a popular workplace nursery last night vowed to fight the “nonsensical” decision to close it.
More than 70 parents attended a public meeting called by AM Julie Morgan to discuss the decision by HMRC to shut the First Friends nursery at its office in Llanishen, on Ty Glas Road.
The nursery has been managed for HMRC by childcare specialists Bright Horizons and facilities management company Mapeley. But HMRC has told Mapeley it will not be extending or renegotiating the contract beyond November.
HMRC bosses say the award-winning nursery is under-subscribed and plan to close it along with seven other nurseries in the UK.
Thirty-five full and part-time staff would be made redundant. Yet the meeting was told the nursery, which has won praise from education inspectorate Estyn and has run for some 20 years, was fully subscribed with a waiting list.
Speakers criticised HMRC chiefs for making the decision without consulting parents or considering the disruption to children. Many bemoaned a “lack of information and misinformation”.
One parent said: “This has come from some bean counter saying ‘this isn’t core business’ and shutting it down to save a few pennies without considering the impact.”
Cardiff councillor Julia McGill, executive member for education, told the meeting at Bethal Community Centre that HMRC had agreed to meet with the council.
Another parent said: “This is a viable, successful business they’re closing down to make people redundant unnecessarily – and we’ve only got two months to fight it.”
Alak Sharma, a mother of 17-month-old twin boys, said: “The ideal would be to reverse the decision, but if that can’t happen, for someone to take the nursery on the same site.”
Sarah Rees said she could only continue to work flexible hours if her 18-month-old daughter stayed with a nursery on her work site.
Mrs Morgan criticised the way the decision had been made as “indefensible, cloak and dagger” and advised a sustained campaign for a U-turn, investigating a new operator or at least a year’s grace to give families a chance of finding alternatives.