Surrey County Council has backed a bid by ‘Your Waverley’ to convert a former Waverley-owned community centre into a nursery school. County Officials say more nursery places are needed in the residential area of council housing. The flat roof building is close to homes occupied by a large number vulnerable adults, including the physically and mentally disabled as well as those suffering from addiction.
Members of the Western Planning Committee heard from planning officers the building had a D1 use class, the patio would be extended for a play area and the footpath re-aligned. Seven spaces in a nearby car park would be reserved for six staff and the parents of the 40 children who would attend. Opening hours could be 9-5pm or possibly 8-6pm.
Farnham’s Cllr Carole Cockburn said she couldn’t think of a worse place for a nursery school.
” I think this is an absolute dogs breakfast.”
She would like nothing more than to see the building back in use, but not for a nursery school so close to nearby properties. What about the safeguarding issues. How can anyone possibly have a safeguarding policy here that actually works? She said the area around Hadrians was an absolute rabbit warren, was cramped and the small areas of green space there was well-used.
“Green space here is precious.and I cannot understand how anyone would think a nursery is the right use for a building surrounded by houses – and I am very worried about this application”
Others too, registered their very real concerns including the effect of noise on neighbours and parents of up to 40 children rocking up at similar times for drop-offs and collections putting pressure on the small car park nearby. The lack of lighting on the footpath concerned Cllr Brian Adams, as did the Range Rovers that would park there! Cllr Brian Edmonds asked if neighbours had been consulted? Cllr George Hesse said the natural noise from children playing was – “right bang next to neighbours’ windows.”
However, Planning Officer Ruth Dovey assured everyone that neighbours had been informed, lighting could be addressed, and parking was not a problem in the area. Any concerns members might have were not insurmountable.
Cllr Kika Mirylees argued lots of nurseries operated in residential areas.
The Western Committee voted six in Favour and six against – with three abstentions – so the planning application was passed with Chairman David Beaman’s casting vote.
The Waverley Web has never been quite able to understand why some councillors seem unable to use their vote – but are content to sit on the fence, wobble about and take no responsibility!