Parents have expressed their dismay after Kingston University (KU) announced plans to close its popular nursery this summer.

Earlier this month KU said it was "considering proposals" to close the nursery at the end of term in July.

The university since launched a 45-day consultation process to engage with parents and nursery staff before announcing a final decision, scheduled for late May.

Several parents who currently rely on the nursery for their childcare expressed their concerns about the planned closure in letters sent to the university and viewed by the Surrey Comet.

One of those parents is Helen Smith, who praised the nursery staff and said they had massively helped with her young daughter's ongoing development.

Ms Smith said: "The Nursery has helped our daughter’s development immensely and she loves her time there...The impact of the closure would be severe and the repercussions are further reaching than (KU) might have anticipated.

"In this area, there are long waiting lists for good quality nursery places and it is emotionally and developmentally disruptive in any case to move children from a place in which they are secure and familiar to another...(The) proposal has caused a great deal of stress to everyone involved."

Ms Smith's concerns were echoed by other parents whose children attend the nursery, including single parent and student Nadine Milwood.

Ms Milwood also praised the staff and services at the nursery and underlined the stress that KU's plans to close the nursery had caused.

Ms Milwood said: "I cannot begin to express the pressure and discomfort I have felt since being informed of the closure on the 12th of July..."

"The relationships and happiness my son has experienced at the nursery with staff, the children that attend and (the) environment are irreplaceable. The quality of education the nursery staff provide cannot be matched."

The student parent added that without the nursery helping her with childcare she expected to be unable to complete her studies.

Ms Milwood said: "The intensity of my course requires me to attend university 5 days a week, and without the support of the nursery I am completely positive I would not of been able to achieve this without them."

Meanwhile, the university authority said they would be supporting those affected by the closure.

Responding to a request for comment from the Surrey Comet, a spokesperson for KU suggested that the planned closure was being considered because the nursery cost too much.

The KU spokesperson said: "The costs of running the nursery have continued to rise in recent years and it has now been operating at a loss for some time."

When asked about the disruption the closure could have on parents and children, KU said it hoped to support parents and staff should it decide to close the nursery, while offering minimal details on what support this would entail beyond highlighting alternative options for parents.

Student parents might however be eligible to receive some financial support from KU.

KU said: "There are a number of alternative childcare providers in the surrounding area. The University will do all it can to support staff and student parents to find a suitable place for their child."

"Eligible student parents can benefit from childcare grants from Student Finance England.

"Should any student parents with a child currently in the nursery experience financial difficulty because of the change, the University will make funding available to cover the difference between the cost of a place in the nursery and a place in an equivalent local childcare setting, up to the same number of sessions per week."

Nevertheless, concerns among parents with children attending the nursery persist.

Speaking to the Surrey Comet, a staff member at KU who wished to remain anonymous and whose child also attends the nursery said that they suspected KU to push forward with the closure regardless of what happened during the consultation.

The KU staff member said: "Although billed as a proposal, I am concerned that the timing of the announcement makes the closure a 'done-deal'. With the nursery not taking children for the next academic year, and not running a summer play-scheme, the impression is that the decision to close the nursery has in effect already been taken.

"Given that stability is so important for both children and parents we would question why such a major decision is being proposed with such short notice."

The planned closure would represent a "big loss" for parents, teachers, students and for KU itself, they added.