A NURSERY is facing a "crisis" and may be forced to close following a decision to increase its rent by more than 400 per cent.

Trustees claim children will suffer "distress and disruption" if Stoborough School in Wareham fails to reconsider its rent demands.

Stoborough Nursery, situated in the grounds of the Corfe Road school, currently pays £450 per term in rent.

But now it says the school has asked for £1,750 per term, a level which it says is "unrealistic and unfair."

In a letter to parents, trustees said: "The trustees of the nursery have been trying to negotiate with the school governors to agree a more manageable rent. However, I am extremely saddened to report that, as of last week, the governors are refusing to discuss this matter further with us. Our last attempt to offer mediation to them in order to reach an agreement was refused."

It continues: "As a charity, finding this extra amount of money each term is quite impossible. We fundraise for everything from resources, to maintenance of the building and garden. The governors are aware of this, and also aware of the very obvious consequences on our ability to operate if they do not negotiate a fairer rent.

"The governors know that the children will ultimately be the ones who suffer with the distress and disruption of having to find another setting yet they seem to push on regardless of the implications."

Trustees said they understand the school has its own funding issues but

The charity asked people to sign a petition at an Easter holiday event over the weekend and are also urging them to write to the school's Chair of Governors, Giles Wade, and head teacher Deborah Corbin.

The trustees said: "We need your support or come September there will be no nursery."

They added: "We are gaining support from the local authority and the local MP but this isn't enough. We need you. We need more parents to stand as trustees. We need you to voice your support. Without your support our children will be without a local nursery and staff will lose their jobs."

Brian Collins, chairperson of Stoborough Nursery, said: "Since Stoborough Nursery has been established for over 30 years, it is shocking that this decision appears to have been made without consideration or respect for a team of staff who have worked hard to serve the community for so long."

The Daily Echo was unable to contact the school for a comment.