Latest winners and losers as axe falls on North Norfolk pre-school projects

Seaview Playgroup, North Lodge Park, Cromer; GV of Seaview Platgroup's building; For:EDP; Copy:Steve Downes

Seaview Playgroup, North Lodge Park, Cromer; GV of Seaview Platgroup's building; For:EDP; Copy:Steve Downes


Two North Norfolk nurseries are set for unexpected good news today after the county council made a last-minute decision to spare their refurbishment plans from the axe.

Roughton Pre-School and Seaview Playgroup in Cromer are likely to get the go-ahead for their projects, which are desperately needed because of issues about the suitability of the existing buildings.

But while the two nursery schemes are expected to be winners when the council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny panel meets today, a long-awaited plan to develop a children’s centre on Red Lion Street in Aylsham is set to be axed.

The Aylsham extended school cluster area children’s centre 
was looking to move into its own 
home next to the Salvation Army charity shop, having opened in March in the Norwich Road Ian Sears Clinic.

The report to today’s meeting said a 10-year lease was the minimum for the site, and the council did not have “security of funding”.

It added that there was an opportunity to combine the children’s centres at Aylsham and Reepham and cover the two communities from a “modular building” at Cawston. Plans for a new children’s centre at Reepham are also earmarked for the axe in the report.

Last month, the council drew 
a list of winners and losers to 
enable it to save £4.168m, after the government reduced its early years funding.

The plan was agreed by cabinet, but a new list has now been compiled, reflecting the council’s desire to concentrate more of the available funding on nursery projects.

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “In reviewing capital spending across our early years programmes, we have thankfully now found a way to save the vast majority of nursery and pre-school programmes.

“However, the cut means we are in the regrettable position where we cannot proceed with some of our plans for new phase three children’s centre buildings in the county.

“Children’s centre services are running and will continue in all of these areas but the building plans to support this work must now be scaled back.”

Overall, building work will be cancelled for nine children’s centres, with four going ahead. Nine nursery places projects are likely to go ahead, with a scheme at Hevingham the only one to miss out.

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