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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Childcare plan leads to outcry

LOCAL nursery owners are protesting against controversial plans for childcare facilities on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park.

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bad idea: Charlotte Wood, of Playroom Day Nursery

A proposal for a nursery to accommodate more than 50 children on the Moor Row site had previously been rejected by Copeland’s planning committee.

However, Westlakes have submitted a new application stating there is a “high number of requests’’ for childcare from the Park’s tenants.

Now local nursery owners say they fear a new nursery would result in job losses and “an over-saturation of the market”.

A petition objecting to the plan is circulating and a meeting with around 10 local nurseries to discuss the impact of the Westlakes’ proposal will be held on October 28.

Joe Wood, joint owner of Playroom Day Nursery in St Bees, claims: “All the nurseries in the Whitehaven area are running at under 50 per cent capacity, if there was a waiting list for nursery places then I could maybe understand the Westlakes proposal, but that isn’t the case.

“ I appreciate that it would bring new jobs to the area but a nursery of this scale could see me lose a third of my customers, which in turn would see me laying off staff – it would create nothing but a void.

“There is no need for this nursery, and if it receives the go-ahead then there would just be an over saturation of the market.”

Marie Tattersall has been the owner of Acorns Pre-school, Cleator Moor, for three years. She said: “The plans for this new nursery look very hi-tech. Shakespeare never used an IT suite and look at the masterpieces he produced. Childcare doesn’t need to be flashy.”

Back in February Copeland Council denied planning permission saying that a nursery would not reflect the “true ethos of the park”.

The planning department at the council have since received another proposal for the nursery under a new applicant and agent.

Charlotte Wood, joint partner of Playroom Day Nursery, said: “It took us nearly two years to build up our client base, and the negative impacts that the opening of Westlakes will have on us are huge. What is being proposed is a bad idea.”

However, Tim Hirst, head of property at Britain’s Energy Coast, the owner of Westlakes Science and Technology Park, said: “Our recent planning application for nursery facilities on the Park has been made in response to the high number of requests for such facilities in our frequent tenant surveys.

“This evident demand, combined with a number of approaches that we have received in recent years from nursery operators prepared to make an investment on the Park, led to the decision to submit a planning application.”

And he added: “We see the continuous development of services on the Park as an important part of meeting the expectations that companies have of their location.”

Have your say

Nurseries running at half capacity. And you wonder why with the obscene charges to get your child into nursery. Your damned if you do and a bad parent if you dont.

Get Woodburn involved, she's good at ruining stuff, mainly Copeland.

Posted by penneths worth on 21 October 2013 at 20:23

Great idea. A nursery closer to where the parents work can only benefit everyone.
Parents close by in case of an emergency, Less travelling for parents as nursery and work in same location, More time for parents to spend with children. Less costs for parents as child spends less time in childcare.

Its only other nurseries that are complaining. Maybe they should of thought of the idea first!!

Posted by Brian on 21 October 2013 at 14:33

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