Parents at an east Twickenham nursery have started a petition after they were told they need to find alternative nursery places for their children by Easter.

Marble Hill Nursery parents, in Marble Hill Park, were told last week that the nursery would be closing on March 24, with new providers taking over.

The new nursery, a bilingual nursery called Mandarin Ducklings, is set to open in June.

The parents at the nursery have appealed to Marble Hill Play Centres, who operates the nursery, to allow it to remain in place until at least the summer.

A petition, set up by parent Frances Corner, who four-year-old daughter Thomasina attends the nursey, says: - Marble Hill Nursery is currently a wonderful place for the children, well run by caring and experienced staff. It would be a great shame for everyone if this was to end.

- The nursery is currently very effective at meeting Marble Hill Play Centres’ vision already.

- The building is unsuited to a larger or longer running nursery – there is not space for more children and running alongside The One O’Clock Club there is the potential security issue of lots of unchecked adults being in the centre with the nursery children.

- The fact that the park closes at 4pm or 4.30pm in the winter months means that a full day nursery is not possible in the building.

- The proposal to change the provision at the end of the spring term is very unfair on the children – especially those starting school in September – what will they do for one term in between?

Mrs Corner said: “We have been given three weeks' notice that the nursery will close at Easter – fifteen two- to four-year-olds will have to find new nursery places for the new term.

“This is especially bad for the four-year-olds who are starting school in September.

“One term at a different nursery will be very unsettling for them.”

The nursery is run by Laura Stokoe, who has worked at the nursery for 20 years.

Mrs Corner added: “The key thing that seems so unkind about this is not allowing the children to at least complete the year.

“Why can the refurbishment not be done over the summer holiday period?

“Also, as there is such a gap for refurbishment, what will happen to the jobs of the current staff, who are such caring, experienced and skilled childcare workers and teachers?”

The Richmond and Twickenham Times was unable to contact Ms Stokoe or Marble Hill Play Centres at the time this newspaper went to press.