Essex nursery wins battle for longer hours

A NURSERY has won a two-year battle to secure early opening hours so that parents can drop of children before leaving for work.

Play and Learn Childcare on Haslers Lane had struggled to get its opening times changed from 9am to 7.30am because a neighbour had complained about noise and campaigned against it every time it went before planners.

However, the most recent application, which received widespread support from councillors and business owners alike, has been successful and owner Jan Bloomfield is delighted with the news.

“It has been quite a long struggle,” she said. “But now it offers us the opportunity to serve the communities of Dunmow and surrounding villages the way we always intended to do.

“Previously 9am was obviously not early enough for parents who need to drop off their children before going to work. But now we can also start a Breakfast Club to go with our Tea Time Club, and I don’t think another exists in this area.”

Although the nursery has always been open until 7pm it suffered from the planning restrictions and numbers threatened to drop off.

But with support from groups like the Town Council, the Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Essex County Council’s Children Community Development Officer the argument for extended hours proved overwhelming.

Most Read

Mrs Bloomfield added: “All the Councillors supported our application but, in particular, we had a really strongly worded letter from Cllr Clive Smith – he was especially helpful and supportive, for which we are most grateful.”

Nursery manager Gina Lewis said that the new planning agreement was exactly what the nursery needed.

She said: “This is like a shot in the arm for us all. Our ethos is always to bend over backward to provide what parents want.

“We are flexible with our bookings and competitive with our pricing, we have fabulous premises and a great team of staff, and now we can get on and do our job properly, providing what people really need.”

For details of Play and Learn Childcare, call 01371 871500 or visit DOES Dunmow have enough facilities for young children? Give us your comments – e-mail or write to 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1EE.