York has a childcare crisis – and it’s going to get worse, warns councillor

There are worries that more nurseries will close

There is a “childcare crisis” in York – due to a shortage of nursery places according to a councillor.

Cllr Jonny Crawshaw said there used to be 10 childminders in the Micklegate area but now there is only one.

The closure of The Crescent Day Nursery and possible closure of the Priory Street Nursery means there is “massive pressure” on childcare.

Paul Healey, the parent of a child at Priory Street, asked if there is “a wider relevance to other nurseries in the city”.

He said: “I think we are getting to the point now where there’s going to be an acceleration of nursery closures or changes of management.”

‘Massive pressure’

The Priory Street Nursery. Photograph © Google Street View
Cllr Crawshaw told the meeting:

  • I think it’s clear that there’s a massive pressure in Micklegate Ward. I think that is reflected right across the whole city, it’s not unique to the city centre.

    I think there is a crisis in early years provision in the city.

    Some of that comes as a result of government funding. The 30 hours free places I think have caused significant financial difficulties to a lot of providers.

He said childcare allows parents to return to work and asked if the council can look at offering support to struggling nurseries.

York CVS announced in November it may have to close its Priory Street Nursery – a move parents said would be “devastating”.

David Harbourne, chair of York CVS, told councillors: “I’m very appreciative of a very broad range of activities that we’re already involved in and certainly don’t want one issue to overshadow all of those other pieces of work.

“Over a period of years the York CVS has experienced deficits and that’s been across a range of services one of which has been losses on the running of the Priory Street Nursery actually money is very tight for the CVS.”

Parents have suggested forming a company to run the nursery themselves – and a private company has shown an interest in taking it over.

York CVS said there should be a decision by February 12.