Determined mum vows to fight on with nursery plan

A childminder ‘devastated’ after plans to open a pre-school in a former warehouse were turned down has vowed not to give up on providing a ‘much-needed’ community facility.

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 9:31 am
Plans to turn this former warehouse into a nursery have been rejected

Rachael Fisher planned to take over the building in Bradshaw Street, Atherton, with the view of providing weekly care for children aged between three and four years old.

The building’s exterior would remain untouched, but significant internal work would have made it more suitable for its proposed new use. A play space was also planned in an outdoor area.

But Wigan council said a lack of onsite car spaces could lead to a rise in on-street parking and create ‘highway safety hazards’ for parents and children walking to and from the site.

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A new pre-school would have satisfied high demand for youngsters who have become eligible for 30 hours free childcare a week, according to Miss Fisher.

Miss Fisher said: “I’m a childminder and currently look after eight children, as does my friend, so we just wanted to expand into somewhere new.

“I live right around the corner, a stone’s throw away, so it would be ideal.”

The planning application said parking would not be an issue given that there are only three properties in Bradshaw Street, which also leads into Martin Street and Bolton Old Road.

It adds that ‘ample’ free parking was available in the immediate area for parents to drop off and pick up their children.

With only two members of staff and 16 children expected to attend the school, Miss Fisher felt it would not impact on local residents.

But council planning officers disagreed, saying: “The proposal would not provide adequate accommodation for the parking of vehicles or a safe drop off point for parents and children within the site.

“Consequently, the proposal has the potential to lead to on street parking, which would create highway safety hazards due to the potential for conflicts between pedestrians and road users and would be detrimental to the amenity of neighbouring properties on Bradshaw Street, Martin Street and Bolton Old Road.”

Miss Fisher said talks are ongoing with a nearby landowner who could lease a parcel of land that could be used for parking.

She added: “We put a lot of work into this, so I’m not going to give up. Atherton only has three pre-schools, and I didn’t want this to be a private nursery, so this would be a much-needed facility.”