Parents were left “shattered” after finding out the future of their children’s nursery is under threat.

Valley Pre-school, in Rossiter Fields, on the Dollis Valley estate, is set to move out next year, as houses are due to be built on its current site.

Originally based in Hammond Close, Barnet, it moved into temporary accommodation last year as a result of the regeneration happening on the estate, and was due to move into the estate's  new community centre next year.

However, a nursery tender opened in September for the new premises at the community centre, which Valley Pre-school applied for.

However, the pre-school found out it had lost the tender last week, which means its future is now in doubt.

Mark Oliver, 35, chair of the trustees of the pre-school, which was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted last week, said: “It was a shock. Lots of the community will lose out, it’s clear to see. The general reaction has been how has this happened? Disbelief is still the main feeling.”

Mr Oliver, who attended the pre-school as a child, and whose mother Wendy works there as a deputy manager, said it felt like a “second home.”

He added: “We had a lot of difficulties when we moved to the temporary building at first. The year has been full of ups and downs, so for the families to have stuck with us is testimony to how strongly they feel about the place. It’s not just a nursery, it’s a community. Families stay with us for generations."

Muna Suga, 32, whose three-year-old son is at the nursery, said: "It's really upsetting. The service here is very good. Its closure will have a big effect on the estate. I would like to see it continue."

Wendy Oliver, 69, has worked at the pre-school for 34 years. She said: “I am absolutely devastated. I cannot believe it. Parents were absolutely shattered when they found out. I worry for all the families here. Over the years, I have spent hours giving support to the families. We have had a lot of generations come back.

“I think it will be a huge loss to the community. I would say we are the oldest nursery in the area. Parents choose to come here because it’s a small environment, it’s more of a home from home feel.”

Underhill councillor Paul Edwards said: “I am disappointed. It’s a small community based nursery having to compete with the commercial sector. It’s not a level playing field. I think in the long run this is going to have a huge effect."

A spokesman for L&Q, which is carrying out the estate’s regeneration and held the tender, said: “Following an open tender Kidz Choice Nurseries have been chosen as the future provider for the nursery planned at Dollis Valley's soon to be built community hub.

“They put forward a very competitive bid and demonstrated a strong track record delivering high quality early years’ services for children in the area.”

A council spokesman said: “The council has been working closely with the owners of Valley Preschool and will continue to do so to assist them in finding new premises if they wish.

“We will be liaising with the future provider to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for children entering the new nursery .”