Parents win time to find new base for nursery

October 07 2016

PARENTS have won a stay of execution for the popular Rocking Horse Day Nursery in Warmley.

Save our nursery

PARENTS have won a stay of execution for the popular  Rocking Horse Day Nursery in Warmley.

They began a campaign after learning that the long-established nursery had been told it had to leave its base at the former Grange School site in Warmley at Christmas.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition urging South Gloucestershire Council to give the nursery, which has been based at the Grange for more than 25 years, more time to find an alternative venue. 

Campaigners took their plea to the council’s Children, Adults and Health Committee and then to the Policy and Resources Committee, whose members voted unanimously on October 5 to extend the nursery’s lease until the end of the academic year.

There was further good news for parents this month too. Following publicity for the campaign, which won the support of Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore, the manager of Sir Bernard Lovell Sports Centre came forward to offer the nursery some land on its site - a mile away from the current home. 

This is one of several options being actively pursued by the owners of the family-run nursery, which has about 70 children on its books.

Councillor Jon Hunt, who proposed extending the notice period to summer 2017, acknowledged that some parents were struggling to find suitable alternative childcare.

“It wouldn’t be fair on the parents or the children at the nursery to force them to try to find alternative provision in the middle of a school year, he said.  “Unfortunately they cannot stay at the Grange indefinitely because the buildings need to be demolished, but we have decided to offer an extension to allow parents to find somewhere else for their children and for Rocking Horse to find alternative accommodation.”

Save our Nursery campaigner Laura Williams, speaking after the meeting, said: “When we realised the council wanted to demolish the buildings, we knew there was no way we could stay on indefinitely – but we just wanted a reasonable time frame in which to move to a new home. Parents have been lobbying councillors and we’re delighted that their efforts paid off and the nursery has been saved. We can all relax a little now – knowing our children are safe where they are.”

Nursery owner Julia Davies added: “We are over the moon with this decision – we were always going to struggle to complete a move within six months and it left us facing a very uncertain future indeed. We are now working hard on securing a new home in order to provide continuous and ongoing nursery provision in the area. We’ve been overwhelmed with the support we’ve received from parents and the community would like to thank everyone for helping to save our nursery.”