PLANS to close the last local authority run nursery are being met with opposition as a public consultation proposes to close it next summer.

The Harvey Nursery in Bolton’s closure saga continues as the council opened a public consultation to close it in July 2021.

Earlier this year, a fierce debate took place at full council, where Martin Donaghy, Labour Group's Children’s Services spokesman and others made the case that the nursery was important to the area as it was used by those attending university and working in the town.

But with a need to make cuts, Bolton Council say they can no longer afford to heavily subsidise a service that only caters for a small number of children from one part of the borough.

A spokesman for the council said: “A public consultation has opened on proposals to close Harvey Nursery at the end of July next year.

“The nursery costs council taxpayers £120,000 a year to run at a time when the council needs to find £39m in budget savings.

“We want to hear as many views on this as possible, including from local private childcare providers.”

There are 50 children at the nursery and the council have offered support to make sure new places are found for all children to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Cllr Donaghy said: “Back in January the full council instructed the executive cabinet to reconvene and look at financial options available and come back with a report.

“This was so we could evaluate it but that has not happened, and they are using old reports and figures from 2019.

“My view is that it’s just political decision by the conservative group to close it.

“But how can you evaluate when they have not reconvened and the parents were furloughed, so there was no need for a nursery as they were looking after their children themselves.”

In January, the council stated that the nursery is only operating at 44 per cent capacity, and its closure would save £103,886.

Cllr Donaghy said: “I do not think the correct procedures are being carried out and I will fight this closure as much as possible.”

Following a public outcry three years ago, the nursery was once again saved and concerns were raised again in 2020 as well as earlier this year, when a full council met to discuss the nursery.

Harvey Nursery is based in The Harvey Children's Centre, Shaw Street but the council say the proposal to close Harvey Nursery does not affect the Start Well Centre.

The Start Well centre will remain open and continue to offer services to local children and families.