Nursery is locked in fierce row with neighbours who want no more than five children in playground

Nursery is locked in a fierce row with neighbours who want no more than five ‘shrieking‘ children in the playground at any one time

A nursery is locked in a row with neighbours who want no more than five ‘shrieking‘ children in the playground at one time. 

Winton House Day Nursery in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has been put under scrutiny from one neighbour and planners have decided the five child maximum policy.

Windows must also remain shut at all times to avoid disturbing the neighbourhood.      

But Winton‘s bosses say the rules are impractical and call for the number of children to be extended to 12 and permission to open nine windows in the six-room baby unit.  

However three neighbours have written to Cheltenham Borough Council saying noisy play ruins the enjoyment of their gardens.

One of the complainants wrote: ‘Unfortunately when we sit in the garden our pleasure is greatly diminished by the noise of shrieking children.‘

While they understood the ‘need for nurseries‘, they advised the business would be ‘better sited in an area of family homes‘. 

It is ‘unfair‘ that ‘we cannot enjoy peace and quiet in our own garden‘.

The building, which has a 300 square metre garden, was converted from a residential property into a nursery for 20 children from birth to five years old, in 2000.

But the nursery now accommodates 40 children and claims restricts are unfair on the children and staff.

In their application, they say: ‘The children who attend Winton Day Nursery are, by virtue of their age and sociability, not excessively loud.

‘Any potential noise source, ie babies crying, is not sustained, as it is the job of a nursery to retain a peaceful environment.‘

‘By virtue of their age‘ babies are given scheduled nap times during the opening hours, it reads.

However one objector pointed out the number of retired residents which live in the bungalows and spend a lot of time at home or in the gardens.  

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A person who has lived on the street for 19 years finds the thought of the number of children increasing and noise getting louder distressing.        

‘It must be that noise levels will increase substantially and we cannot see that it would possible or desirable to ask carers to quieten their children in any way.‘

The letter also included: ‘The words quoted from the application, put in simple lay terms, are saying that expansion equals more children, equals more noise, equals the need to reduce residential amenity to accommodate the increased noise.

‘The logic is one-sided and is unreasonable. The currently acceptable situation will deteriorate.

‘Clearly 12 children will make far more noise than five.‘

However a next-door neighbour of the nursery has written in support of the application.

They said: ‘The noise in the day from the garden is very light, there is a background sound of children playing which is nice and barely noticeable.

‘This never disturbs me working in the office and I can‘t recall a single time when I have been inconvenienced or annoyed by the noise.‘

People have shared their frustrations about the pain-staking row on Facebook.

Catherine Lygoe wrote: ‘I take issue with the comment regarding it not being a family friendly area – it is slap bang in the middle of a residential area. The garden is huge and quite secluded. I get so cross with selfish older people. A bit of noise is part of living in society. 

Meanwhile Abby Keohane-Jones said: ‘Most of the residents will have lived there for years, the nursery was converted from a residential property a few years ago on the understanding that they had to follow conditions imposed by the council. 

‘The nursery now want to lift those conditions – the residents are well within their rights to express concerns.‘  

A decision on the application is expected to be made next week. 


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