Most of Birmingham’s community day nurseries will be given a reprieve as city council leaders prepare to water down a closure programme.
Nineteen nurseries and children’s centres, which mostly provide free places for low-income families are to remain open following a consultation exercise.
But the closure of four nurseries in buildings deemed unfit for purpose is expected to be confirmed by the council cabinet, saving the city £3 million a year.
They are Claremont nursery in Sparkbrook and Tyburn Road nursery. Both were forced to close in the summer following flooding and health and safety issues.
Two other nurseries to shut are Clopton Road in Garretts Green and Bacchus Road in Soho.
Tennyson Road children’s centre in Small Heath will be moved from its existing building, which faces a £100,000 repair bill.
The decision lifts the threat of compulsory redundancies from scores of teachers and other staff.
Most of the 718 places at the community nurseries and children’s centres are provided free of charge. But 150 of the places are reserved for fee-paying parents, mainly council staff, at £140 a week.
Council bosses have decided not to increase charges to £180 a week for the time being.
But they are warning that almost half of the nurseries currently have empty places contributing to a shortfall in annual income of £105,000, something that the council says cannot be allowed to continue in future.
Education scrutiny committee chairman Jon Hunt welcomed the cabinet decision to back away from wholesale closures.
But parents had to show their commitment to the remaining nurseries by utilising all available places.
Coun Hunt (Lib Dem Perry Barr) added: “Community nurseries must charge reasonable rates and people must be encouraged to use them.
“We must ensure that people in the areas where nurseries are to close have alternative provision close to where they live.”
The council’s Early Years and Family Support Manager, Richard King, said the consultation exercise demonstrated widespread public support for the community nurseries.
Mr King stressed, however, that the growth in alternative private sector early years provision meant that parents had far greater choice and that the council had to do more to make sure its nurseries were fully occupied.
He added: “Managers will be expected to ensure that their nurseries meet the higher occupation targets and will be held accountable if they are not achieved.”