Anger at plans to demolish Finsbury nursery

Councillor Richard Watts

Councillor Richard Watts - Credit: Archant

Staff and parents at a nursery are planning to fight the council after being told they would see “bulldozers at the front door” in two years.

The East West Community Nursery is located on the Finsbury Leisure Centre site in Norman Street, which Islington Council plans to demolish and rebuild with more than 100 new homes to help reduce a massive shortfall in the borough’s social housing.

The nursery, in Mitchell Street, was founded in 1990, opens 48 weeks a year and currently teaches thirty children, with another nine joining their after school programme.

Claire Nash, 27, an assistant account living on Radnor Street, has three children and has used the nursery for nearly three years.

Miss Nash said: “I was so angry, so flabbergasted and upset – I couldn’t believe the news.

“I just want to do everything I can just to save East West. I think the world of them, they love your kids, treat them like their own.

“Only one other nursery in the borough does after school pick-ups and they’re full, so I’d have to reduce my hours. When you have to pay your bills it’s a lot of money to lose out on.”

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Current plans would see Moreland School’s children centre take on some of the youngsters, but East West Chairman David McCobb believes they will struggle to cope with the extra demand from the new housing.

He also highlights that for parents like Miss Nash, most nurseries don’t provide the hours and support East West does to fit around their jobs.

“We met with some of the parents and we’re putting together an action committee to contest the proposal,” said Mr McCobb.

“There are children who came in the early days who now bring their own kids. It’s a well respected nursery that has grown into a real family.

“There are other free buildings we could possibly take over but we want to stay where we are. We seem to have been singled out somehow, it’s very odd.”

Cllr Richard Watts, Islington Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “The East-West Nursery is not planned to be re-provided on this site, so we need to ensure children receive their entitlement to 15 hours nursery education through existing provision and provide as much additional childcare as possible locally.

“We will be working with East-West to find alternative accommodation and minimise disruption to the children attending the nursery.”

A draft planning brief for the area is open to consultation until May 6.