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Pre-school set for relocation in Thurlby

A small army of mums and a pre-school owner have won a battle to relocate a pre-school in Thurlby.

They convinced South Kesteven district councillors to overcome the wishes of Swallow Hill residents, who largely opposed the scheme, claiming the children would be noisy.

Applicant Michael Austin sought a change of use for number 14 Swallow Hill from a residential bungalow to a nursery/pre-school.

At Tuesday’s meeting of development management committee nearby residents faced opposition from young mums from elsewhere in the village.

A council report said the application had received 14 letters against the plans, with five in support.

Malcolm Brown, who lives next door to the site, said the proposed change of use for the site would “fundamentally destroy our quality of life and the ambience of the neighbourhood”.

Julian Foot warned Swallow Hill has a bend, it gets wet and slippery and is known as “Swallow River” and traffic would find it hard to stop if they need to.

Alan Wade feared parking parents would create traffic congestion.

However, among the five speakers supporting the application, Davina Outen said the pre-school helps Thurlby “stay alive and grow”.

Other women said the pre-school allows them to work and help support their families and that the pre-school itself creates jobs in the village. Having the school on an industrial estate would also be “absurd.”

Pre-school owner Sarah Austin told the meeting that the pre-school, currently sited on a farm elsewhere in the village, has to move since the landlord had died. She has looked for alternative sites but there aren’t any.

Mrs Austin also said that her pre-school has never received any complaints about noise to date.

Committee chairman Martin Wilks (Con) said: “Clearly it’s a controversial application. There is a need for this nursery and it’s of high quality.”

However, members were concerned over potential nuisance to neighbours, with Coun Judy Stevens seeing both sides and hoping there would not be “resentfulness” between them.

Councillors said matters had to be determined on planning grounds. They agreed that a 1.8m hedge had to be maintained by the pre-school, along with an ‘accoustic fence’ to minimise the impact on neighbours. With these conditions, the committee voted to approve with 14 members in favour of the application, with one abstention.


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