There is hope for the future of a children's centre threatened with closure, after an agreement was reached for its services to keep on running.

News emerged earlier this month that Polka Day Care, in Wells, may have to close on November 11 - prompting a host of concerns for families and staff who rely upon the nursery.

Alpha Nurseries, which runs the centre in Polka Road, claimed "discrepancies" surrounding the building's lease were to blame.

However, a solution has now been found which will see Alpha continue operating the Polka Road facility until Norfolk County Council (NCC) has found a new provider.

A spokesman for the Ipswich-based company said the change could happen as soon as next month.

Parents of youngsters who attend Polka Day Care had begun preparing for the possibility of moving house or changing jobs to find suitable childcare for their children.

One said they would even have to give up their business.

But efforts to find a solution were accelerated after many contacted their local MP, Duncan Baker, who brokered talks between Alpha and the county council on Thursday (October 20) evening.

"My role has been to make sure parents, come November 12, have got the reassurance that their children can still be looked after," said Mr Baker.

"Clearly there is a situation where Alpha feel they can no longer continue running the nursery and, therefore, my absolute priority is to find those children and families new nursery provision.

"By raising this situation we have very quickly got both sides around the table, and a practical solution is being worked out where Alpha are agreeing to continuing operating the nursery until the county council can provide an alternative provider."

Despite progress being made, there remains questions over how Alpha Nurseries was able to take over Polka Day Care just four months ago.

The specific nature of the lease "discrepancies" has not been disclosed, but Alpha confirmed they were highlighted during legal checks prior to its takeover.

Attempting to clarify the situation, a company spokesman said: "Issues with the lease were picked up by our solicitor and we were aiming to have those resolved. We took on the contract from June but, come October, those issues remain unresolved.

"Duncan Baker got the relevant parties round the table and we have agreed to retain the nursery for as long as it takes NCC to find another provider. We will sustain the service and retain the staff that are there.

"The children and the nursery shouldn't expect any issues. NCC have assured us they will do everything in their power to make sure of that.

"The council is working to bring in a new provider as soon as possible and this could be as soon as November, but we are allowing for this to extend to January to give the new provider the proper time to plan and prepare, so as to ensure there are no further issues.

"In an ideal world we would never have wanted to pull out of the lease. However, we would like to thank Duncan Baker for his support in attempting to resolve the issues, and to Norfolk County Council for their understanding."

Parents had also raised concerns in recent days over Alpha Nurseries' staffing of Polka Day Care, insisting a number of employees had been forced to leave due to amendments to the centre's rota.

While Alpha acknowledged that changes had been made, the firm said these were designed to minimise disruption and ensure children had consistent care-givers.

The spokesman added: "We have experienced some issues with staffing since taking over the service, which were mainly focused around providing cover for staff on maternity.

"This, unfortunately, led to some staff hours being amended whilst we recruited into the vacant maternity hours.

"We had tried to avoid the use of temporary staff and provide consistency to the children by utilising the staff they were familiar with in a different shift pattern."

Norfolk County Council reaffirmed an earlier statement from Daniel Elmer, deputy cabinet member for children's services, saying that it would continue to "explore options" for the future provision of nursery place in Wells.