ANGRY parents and staff have launched a campaign to save a Marylebone nursery.

Four staff would lose their jobs and around 20 children would be left without a place if the University of Westminster continues its plan to close its Luxborough Street nursery.

The nursery looks after the children of students and staff at the university, and is open to the wider community outside term time.

Staff and parents were told that a 30-day consultation period over the nursery's future was to be opened on the last day of the university term.

The fate of the nursery will be sealed with a decision on August 17, along with the university's Northwick Park nursery, which also faces closure. If the decision goes ahead, the nurseries would close on September 18.

Until then, no new children will be registered at the nursery and no places are guaranteed in the autumn term for these already attending.

Parents and staff have hit back at the plans and have launched an online petition. Parent Trine Maaetoft, who organised the campaign, pleaded with university chiefs to reconsider.

She said: "Please don't close the nurseries down. They are wonderful and my children love going there."

Jacqueline Haynes, interim manager at the Marylebone nursery, added: "We would be devastated if the nursery had to close.

"We know what it's like trying to look after children and study at the same time. There are not many other childcare facilities around here, and parents want their children to be as close as possible."

Ruth Levin, regional officer for union Unison, said: "The nursery is an important service for students and staff to continue working when they have young children. We're concerned the university is rushing through a consultation with just 30 days' notice.

"We think there should be a full-scale review to work out if the nursery can be saved in some form."

However, a University of Westminster spokeswoman said the nursery facilities in Marylebone and Harrow cost £140,000 a year to run.

She added: "An independent report into the nurseries concluded that, although run by enthusiastic and deeply-caring staff, further investment will be required in addition to the running costs.

"However, the university is very conscious of the value of the nurseries to its staff and students, and to the local communities they serve. Because of this, the university continues to consider the impact on its staff and the families involved.

"If the closure decision is upheld, the university will highlight the financial support options available for its staff and students, along with information on alternative provisions for families." [25cf] To register your support log on to .