Planned nursery project in Brixham halted
The proposed opening of a new nursery in Brixham in April 2012 will not now take place.
The project was being undertaken by Brixham Town Council was commenced in September but has had to be called to a halt because of an increase in projected costs.
The nursery was due to be based at Kings Drive off Rea Barn Road and have places for 55 children aged from 0-4 year olds as well as after school clubs and holiday clubs for up to 11 year olds. Brixham Town Council had identified a need for the new nursery provision and many sites around the town were considered; only the site at Rea Barn offered the space required.
A business plan was produced that proved the viability of the project and it was resolved by Brixham Town Council to proceed unless any unforeseen obstacle occurred to make the nursery an unviable proposition.
Last week it was discovered that the cost of earthworks for the proposed temporary building could cost as much as £100,000 due to the topography of the site and as this figure exceed the predicted figure by over 50% the Councillors on the working group came to the difficult decision to halt the project.
Chairman of the town council Martyn Hodge said: “It was a difficult decision to make, given all the confidential information that we have about the future of nursery provision in the town. However, I believe it is the right decision for the town council.
“My main concern now is the sustainability of our community and ensuring that there is a sufficient support network in the form of child care for our young families to enable them to continue in employment and to live in Brixham. Without such provision we could see more of our young people move away and a further decrease in the proportion of under 50s in the town.
“I sincerely thank the members of the Brixham Community Church for all their help and for working with us on this project. It is doubly disappointing in that this decision also means that the Church’s planned community building for the same site will now be further delayed.’
Councillor Mike Morey said: “It was also disclosed that the birth rate for 2009/10 had decreased following an upturn and this information was given to members of the working group at the same meeting last week. This, added to the increase in projected costs, was another cause for concern for me and I supported the recommendation that the project be halted.
“While there are excellent childminders and nurseries in Brixham as a school governor and a Torbay Councillor I am always concerned for the future care provision for our pre school children and saw this project as a positive step, but it has to be viable.”
Councillor Ray Gardner, who was working on the site preparation plans, said: “I whole heartedly supported this project and had been finding out as much information about the ground works with suppliers and engineers in order to obtain realistic ground works figures.
“It is regrettable that these costs proved to be more than the business plan could sustain. While this project has been called to a halt I am pleased to be part of a proactive council that foresees problems and attempts to address them. The worst anyone can do is nothing.”
Brixham Cllr Lynne Armstrong said: “I welcome the return of sanity to Brixham Town Council in abandoning a nursery project which was never financially viable, was probably unethical and should not have been a priority target for Brixham residents’ funds. I opposed the project from the start and wrote to the Cchairman Cllr Martyn Hodge to protest after the first meeting.
“I also objected to discussions, since 7 July, being carried on behind closed doors and I have asked that in future confidential discussions be minimized and openness be maximized.
“I applaud the leadership of Martyn Hodge and the professional expertise of Cllr Ray Gardner which helped councillors reach the right decision.
“I now call on Torbay Council to maintain Sure Start and nursery provision for Brixham’s youngest children.”