STAFF at a nursery earmarked for closure claim their protests are being ignored by Flintshire Council.
Facilities used by the Croft Nursery, based on Larch Avenue in Shotton, could be lost in plans to amalgamate it with John Summers High School, which would be expanded to provide classes for three to 16-year-olds.
Parents and staff members have expressed their anger at the plan, which they argue is not justified.
Headteacher Joanne Morris said their sense of being overlooked was increased when a package of petitions and letters of objection from more than 1,600 people was recorded as just one objection in a council agenda.
The package, submitted by the nursery’s chair of governors Linda Joughin, was recorded as a objection in the agenda for Flintshire Council’s lifelong learning overview and scrutiny committee, which was held last week.
In total, the report said there had been two objections to the plans, despite the 1,600 signatories on the petition.
Mrs Morris said: “We’ve been overlooked. In the initial consultation we were told that, because it was a John Summers High School amalgamation, we weren’t invited to the meetings.
“And then in the agenda it said there were just two objections which is misleading. There were in excess of 1,600 people objecting to it.”
Mrs Joughin said: “I think it’s disappointing to read that because people would think the local community aren’t interested.
“The council could have handled things in a different way. I don’t think they’ve been very fair with us.
“I know people have come from other schools and they’ve been jealous of our resources and what we’ve got. It’s very, very sad for the local community and the children.”
If the plan goes ahead, the nursery building would be used to house a new ‘Flying Start’ facility, which provides services for children aged three and below.
Due to objections about the planned project, part of Flintshire Council’s ‘21st Century Schools Programme’, the shake-up is likely to be called in and scrutinised by the Welsh Government.
Mrs Morris said: “We’re still hopeful. The Croft has been threatened with closure twice before and both times the Welsh Assembly has thrown it out.
“As a staff we have come back this term and it’s all up in the air. But we’re still doing our job and that what we intend to do throughout.
“One of my concerns is that the nursery children will use the same entrance as 16-year-olds. With the best respect in the world they are going to be using different language and three-year-olds are going to be hearing that and seeing that.
“The sad thing is losing this purpose-built facility where children can feel safe here.”
Ian Budd, the council’s director of lifelong learning said: “All responses to the initial consultations were considered by councillors.
“There were two responses to the statutory notices. We’re now awaiting decision making before the next steps.”