Help to find new premises would be welcomed

This is a letter written on behalf of the Sidmouth Day Care Nursery and Pre-school committee.

We are a charity operating from premises adjacent to All Saints Church.

The Church, our landlord, informed us more than three years ago that they require the building for their own use.

Since that time we have been searching for new premises.

We occupy under a licence, rather than lease, and therefore we could be evicted at any time on only one month’s notice, although our landlord has fortunately been very patient and understanding.

Land adjoining the football field at Manstone looked possible as a new site, but that land is subject to a restriction in favour of Sport England.

They are, understandably, not willing to agree to releasing the land from the restriction.

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We explored the possibility of a joint venture together with the memory caf�, using Stowford Lodge premises vacated by the NHS day care service, but ownership has been retained by the NHS and the GPs are looking at a possible expansion to this site.

We are desperate to find suitable land where we can build a new nursery.

We are the only provider of day care nursery facilities in Sidmouth from the age of six months to five years.

We have a waiting list of approximately 14 months for taking on new under-2s.

For mothers returning to work after maternity leave, we are the only nursery in the town.

The committee firmly believes that we provide an essential service to families and the wider community.

Parents are able to return to work, whether at the hospital, care homes, hotels, estate agents or numerous other local organisations.

Without this option, many local families would struggle to make ends meet, and many organisations would lose valued and experienced staff.

We are aware of the concerns raised by Save Our Sidmouth regarding future development, but we have exhausted all location possibilities.

We can only conclude that we need purpose-built premises on a new site.

In any event, our existing premises lack an essential outdoor play area required by Ofsted.

So far as plans for the Knowle are concerned, we would be delighted to be a part of any future development.

As a charity, and as we enable parents to work in local organisations, we would hope that the community will support us in our search, and to help us achieve a positive outcome for the wider community.

We have been fundraising since we first were told of having to look for new premises.

We will continue to do so until we actually move.

Any donations from benefactors/developers via section 106 agreements would obviously boost this no end.

On behalf of the Sidmouth Day Care Nursery and Pre-school committee.