A NURSERY in Hatch Warren has temporarily closed after a police investigation was launched into a former member of staff.

Kelly Fairbrass, regional director of Busy Bees, confirmed to The Gazette that the nursery has temporarily closed “as a result of a disclosure at our Basingstoke nursery in Hatch Warren regarding a former employee.”

She said that the decision to temporarily close the nursery was so a “thorough investigation can take place.”

She added: “We acted upon the information we received immediately and notified all appropriate external agencies including Ofsted and we are continuing to work alongside these agencies throughout the process.

“The safety of the children in our care is paramount and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure this is always the case.”

A letter was sent to parents of Busy Bees yesterday, from Keelie Leahy, divisional director of the company.

The letter, seen by The Gazette, stated that Busy Bees was notified of a “situation” by an external agency, involving the former member of staff and said the company is “treating this matter very seriously.”

It added: “This is a complex situation and for reasons of confidentiality we are unable to provide any further information at this stage.”

Parents were advised in the letter that they would be updated regularly via email, text and telephone.

Ms Fairbrass told The Gazette: “I understand the disruption and concern that short notice closure of the nursery can cause parents and children. We have been able to place many children in our Busy Bees nurseries nearby. It is our intention to reopen as soon as we are able to do so.

“We are continuously communicating with our parents throughout and we are so grateful for their understanding and patience in this matter.”

The nursery, in Hatchwarren Way, which is managed by Julie Weedon, has two buildings on the site – one for babies and children aged up to two-years and the other for children aged two to five.

There are 60 children on roll.

There is also a separate after-school club for children up to the age of 12.

Busy Bees has nurseries across the country, including two others in Basingstoke - in Chineham and in the grounds of Basingstoke hospital.

Hampshire Constabulary confirmed that a 22-year-woman from Basingstoke was arrested yesterday on suspicion of a minor physical assault and was released on bail, pending further enquiries, until March 7.