A mother has slammed the “heart-breaking” decision to close the Chessington nursery that helped her son catch up to other children his age.

Caroline Constable, whose son was born prematurely, said Moor Lane Day Nursery had been “critical” for the past two years, because its small size allowed staff to spend more time with him.

“When he went to nursery he was 10 months old, but at a seven-month development stage,” she said.

“The small setting meant that he could get a lot of attention, and he could catch up.

“For me, it has been absolutely critical. He wouldn’t have got that one-on-one somewhere bigger.”

Achieving for Children, a partnership between Kingston and Richmond councils that runs the nursery, announced in June that fees would have to increase from September.

After parents complained, they first offered a staggered discount for the first six months – building to the full increase – and then on September 5 sent a letter saying the nursery would in fact be closing at the end of 2018.

Ms Constable said: “There are a lot of upset and angry parents.

“I’m currently scrabbling around to find him a place somewhere else. I should be researching schools, but now I’m having to find a nursery.

“I’ve now got to unsettle him twice in 12 months.”

The letter sent to parents states that the nursery lost £22,000 in 2017/18, with a further £20,000 predicted for this year.

A 23-place nursery, it argues, it not viable in the current market of early years services.

The centre, in Moor Lane, has also been identified as a possible site for a new free school for children with Special Educational Needs.

The letter reads: “This is a very sad decision for us all, and certainly not one that we have taken lightly – and appreciate that this will come as upsetting news for many of you.

“It is important at this time to recognise the staff team’s professionalism over the years, as they have been the huge strength that has kept the nursery going.”

The letter then outlines plans to support families in finding new nursery places.

A Kingston Council spokeswoman said: “The nursery has operated at a loss for some time, which given the council’s financial challenge, we had to review.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, and every effort has been made to keep the nursery open, but for it to be viable moving forwards, it would require significant change.

“There are three very good alternatives close by and we are confident that we can find childcare provision locally that meets existing needs.

 “We are working hard to support both the staff and the parents or carers of those children attending the nursery.”