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Hoxton nursery launches legal action against church

PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 November 2013

A nursery has launched a legal action after it was locked out of its church building for a week, leaving parents desperately trying to find alternative childcare.

The manager of Little Angels Schoolhouse in Bletchley Street, Hoxton, went to the nursery and found all the locks had been changed by the landlords, the Diocese of London, on October 27, allegedly without any warning.

As contact details of the nursery’s families are kept inside the building, staff were unable to tell all the parents of the 65 children about the situation – and many of them turned up on Monday morning to find it locked.

It was closed for five days.

Manager Michele Davison said: “Every single day their lawyers told us they would give us the keys.

“It wasn’t until the evenings that we realised we would not be able to open the next day.

“It’s the last thing in a series of issues we have had with them since the new vicar arrived at Holy Trinity Church in Bletchley Street three years ago.

“Last year they made us remove two CCTV cameras which are there for security and two webcams for parents to watch their children, which we put up six years ago.

“Lastly, the wires to our biometric security system were cut when the locks were changed. They make our job quite difficult. We have fantastic parents, we have an outstanding Ofsted. But we feel we are being persecuted.”

Megan Phillips, a lawyer, was forced to make last minute alternative arrangements for her 10-month-old daughter.

She said: “I think it is extremely shocking that the church has apparently acted in this unlawful way.

“In locking the nursery out of their premises, they appeared to not give any proper thought or consideration to the impact of their actions on 45 very young children and their parents, all of whom were hugely inconvenienced and distressed at very short notice.

I sincerely hope that the church will never take any steps like this again, will consider the consequences of its actions on families and ensure that the nursery is reimbursed.”

A Diocese of London spokesman said: “The issue is the subject of legal proceedings and so we can’t comment further at this stage.”

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