Parents and staff have been left devastated as a popular Chislehurst nursery setup over 20 years ago has been left without a future.

Foxbury Nursery in Penny Street has been caring for youngsters since 1994, but will close in July as the lease cannot be renewed.

Owner Celia Eade explained she rents the building from the Old Elthamians Social Club, while the site is owned by the Old Elthamians’ Charitable Trust.

With the club moving to Eltham College, the trust is now looking to open up the site as a fully vacant lot for rental, rendering it unviable for the Monday to Friday nursery.

Mrs Eade, who lives on Chislehurst High Street, said: “We’re closing. I’ve tried everything I can.

“I’ve been there for more than 20 years – the club now needs it for something else.

“It’s almost like bereavement. It’s the end of the line for me, I think I’m just a victim of circumstance – these things happen.

After the news broke, parents of children past and present came together to petition the closure, noting two recent ‘outstanding’ Ofsted reports to cement their cause.

Lowrie Williams has seen all her little ones attend over the years and said everyone has been busy making banners to save Foxbury – and a Facebook site is also planned.

The 36-year-old said: “I’m devastated. All my kids have gone – it’s a home from home.

“Ofsted said it’s an outstanding nursery and it seems crazy to lose such a great place.

“Everyone is really disappointed. It’s a travesty and a real loss to the community”.

Mrs Williams’ mum, Diane Cunningham, who used to work in education, added: “It’s going to happen so quickly – I found out this morning (April 23) and we’re all just so upset”.

Mrs Eade said she had been hoping to find a home in the town’s new Scout hut, but as a business would have to fork out an untenable £50,000 in business rates.

“I just wish someone, somewhere, could find a hall we could use,” she added.