A SCOTTISH university has come under fire for trying to close a campus nursery for a second time despite furious backlash last year.

In May last year, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) announced it would be cutting up to 50 jobs and axing courses at its Perth campus in a bid to plug a £3 million funding black hole, including proposals to shut the nursery and gym facilities.

The move sparked uproar but parents won the fight to keep the nursery open after staging a protest.

However, it has emerged plans are back on the table to close the facility, with a new consultation also proposing more than 70 teaching and non-teaching staff cuts.

Pete Wishart, MP for the area, said he feared the plans would result in “untold damage” to Perth’s claim to be a “university city”.

READ MORE: Unionists left red-faced as thousands move to Scotland despite tax hike

He said: “It is utterly incomprehensible that senior management at UHI Perth are again pursuing such radical cuts less than a year after the chaos they created by introducing similar proposals, which they ultimately had to backtrack on.

“The huge public campaign we saw last year was a testament to the catastrophic impact that these cuts would have on staff, students and children.

“In particular, the nursery is a state-of-the-art facility and a lifeline for students with children. To close it would lead to parents being unable to pursue their studies, and huge disruption to the education of the children enrolled.

“Furthermore, the staff cuts proposed would see UHI Perth stripped to the bone, resulting in untold damage to Perth’s standing as a university city.”

Wishart said he would be visiting the nursery “at the earliest opportunity” to meet with staff and co-ordinate a plan of action.

He added that after speaking with students and staff, it was evident UHI principal Margaret Cook had “lost the confidence” of the college community.

“It is now up to her to reestablish her leadership by putting a halt to these proposals, and to commit to taking the nursery closure off the table once and for all,” said the SNP MP.

READ MORE: The National makes a difference – subscribe for just £20 for a YEAR

It comes after staff at the UHI centre in Stornoway were told a number of them could face losing their jobs under a cost-cutting drive by managers.

Lecturers at UHI Moray have also taken to the picket line recently as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

It is looking to cut 25 lecturers and 20 support staff as part of a restructuring programme.

UHI said the college is facing a projected £4m deficit.

Since the autumn, bosses said they have been exploring ways to financially sustain the nursery but these have been "exhausted".

Cook said: "This proposal does not come lightly to the college as we all know our nursery is an excellent facility for our young people where we have received excellent reports from the Care Inspectorate as well as positive feedback from parents and carers over the years."

She added: “We recognise this is an incredibly stressful time for everyone and wholeheartedly appreciate colleagues' patience, input and dedication throughout the extremely difficult nature of this consultation period of work.

"We are continuing to welcome input and feedback from across the college, holding various opportunities for staff and students to engage with us.  We will also provide support for any staff affected by these proposals."