Nursery to be demolished to increase Academy parking

Pic: Harris Academy

A Croydon nursery is to be demolished by July in order to make way for a larger car park at Harris Academy.

Little Learners Nursery, which has been based on the school’s grounds for over 20 years, will now have to find new premises for its 27 children.

Harris Academy in Purley gained permission to add 35 parking spaces to its car park from a reluctant planning committee on Thursday night.

The nursery has until July to leave the premises.

The decision was deferred from last month’s meeting as the committee wanted time to see if they had the legal powers to block the proposal.

Councillor Paul Scott, who championed the Nursery’s cause, told Eastlondonlines that he found the result frustrating.

He said: “It is ridiculous that the planning system cannot protect an important community facility like a nursery but we have done as much as we could.”

Chris Randall, project director of the Harris Federation said they had no choice because of a lack of space on the campus. He told Eastlondonlines: “It is one of those things.

“We would not want to see it close. We are helping them to find somewhere else to go.”

He confirmed that they have found new premises, though it does need to be refurbished to be turned into a nursery.

Scott, who is also an architect dismissed claims they could not accommodate the nursery on campus. He said: “It is hard to believe they couldn’t find somewhere on site. It is absolute laziness.”

Under pressure from the committee, the Academy has agreed to set aside £10,000 to help the nursery move premises.

Randall admits that about half of it will be taken up in fees incurred in the move by a referral company and applying for new planning permission. Most of the remainder will go on removal fees.

The costs of refurbishing the dilapidated undisclosed location will be left to the nursery.

Randall emphasised that his school had no choice but to expand its car park to allow the school to grow.

He told Eastlondonlines that since becoming an Academy school in 2009 its annual intake has almost doubled from 100 to 180 students. Its 200 staff share 150 parking spaces.

But Scott was still not impressed: “Schools ought to be the most environmentally friendly and efficient buildings that we have.”

“It is as if Lord Harris does not believe there is such a thing as society.”

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