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Protest against nursery plan with no outside space

PUBLISHED: 17:07 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:31 07 September 2010

By Susanna Wilkey A NURSERY manager in West Hampstead has lashed out at the council s plan to relocate her playgroup, slamming the lack of outdoor space and inaccessibility of the new site. Sington Nursery, based in the Mill Lane Open Space, is due to be

By Susanna Wilkey

A NURSERY manager in West Hampstead has lashed out at the council's plan to relocate her playgroup, slamming the lack of outdoor space and inaccessibility of the new site.

Sington Nursery, based in the Mill Lane Open Space, is due to be moved to the Broomsleigh Street community hall in April to make way for the development of Emmanuel School.

Camden Council intends to spend around £300,000 revamping the community hall, which closed this week, prior to the nursery's move.

The nursery is then planned to be moved again to Fortune Green by September 2011 but there are fears at the nursery and among members of the newly-formed Community Association for West Hampstead that the council does not have the funding in place to do that and they will be left permanently in the community space.

Manager of Sington Nursery Sumudu Dantanarayana said: "We do not want to move but we have no choice and we will have to move in April.

"West Hampstead is an area which is full of flats which do not have gardens and the hall we are supposed to move to does not have an outdoor area.

"The other thing is the accessibility - it is tough to get into the hall at the moment and to park. The children need outdoor space for exercise and fresh air and they won't get that if we move there.

"There are a lot of inconveniences. The plan is to move us eventually to Fortune Green, which we are very keen on, but the funding is not secure for that yet.

"We feel it is a waste to spend all that money on the hall because we are not going to be there long term. The plan to move to Fortune Green is not definite and we are worried we will just be left in the hall."

The nursery wants to move to Fortune Green in April instead of the hall and believes the money would be better spent there.

"The hall is not suitable and how can we be sure there will be money for the new nursery, especially in this current situation?" Ms Dantanarayana added.

"If we end up staying in the hall we will not survive. We are one of the most affordable nurseries in West Hampstead and we provide good care but without outdoor space people will not choose us.

"We have asked the council repeatedly what the details are of the funding and about a back-up plan but we have not heard anything."

CAWH, which was recently formed to provide community services in the area after the West Hampstead Community Association went into liquidation last year, is also concerned it will be without a base for several years - losing the community hall to the nursery.

Chairman Alan Johnson said: "The idea is to convert the hall for the nursery temporarily but long-er-term move it to Fortune Green. Then the hall would be converted again into a community centre.

"But it would appear that the funding for Fortune Green is failing and everyone is very concerned about it.

"We are worried that the nursery will get stuck in the hall because of a lack of funding and then there will be no community hall for many years.

"It would be better to spend the money they are going to use to convert the hall doing up Fortune Green instead which is far more suitable."

A Camden Council spokesman said: "Sington nursery needs to relocate so that the expansion of Emmanuel CE Primary School can go ahead - a top priority for the council is providing additional primary school places in the borough.

"The council is committed to the long-term future of Sington nursery and Fortune Green has been identified as a site for its permanent relocation.

"In the meantime, the nursery will move temporarily to Broomsleigh Hall, sharing the facility with the new community association, until the redevelopment of Fortune Green is complete."

susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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