Playgroup approved on academy site

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A new building for a proposed playgroup at North Oxfordshire Academy has been approved by Cherwell district councillors.

The single-storey pre-school building will be situated to the north of the main school buildings and to the west of properties in Ludlow Drive and Warkworth Close.

It will offer nursery provision for children aged up to five after the application was approved last Thursday.

Speaking at the meeting, Cherwell district councillor Nicholas Turner said: “I have got absolutely no problem with the principle of building this on this site, but I believe it to be in the wrong place. I don’t think it has been looked at properly and there are other places where it could go.

“I drive past Ludlow Drive and Warkworth Close in the morning and there are cars parked all along the road. It is traffic chaos down there.”

The building will measure about 14m x 22.5m with a split apex roof with a maximum height of 5.2 metres. There will also be a secure outside space measuring about 32m by 34m.

Residents living near the proposal had sent in letters of objection to the application. Lesley Blake also voiced her concern to councillors, stating: “The outside play area of the proposed playgroup will be situated immediately next to my property.

“We appreciate there is a need for a new nursery building, however the chosen location throws up a number of big negatives.

“The school site is large and there are other options. I do question whether it is right to build a playgroup on the only place on the school site where it will affect residents directly and detrimentally.”

Councillor Debbie Pickford spoke in favour of the application despite the objections. She said: “Schools and pre-schools produce noise. That is where we were all educated. They are by residential areas because children should be able to walk to school. The traffic is not caused by anybody else but parents who insist on driving there. I fully support this application.”