CIVIC chiefs have approved plans to convert a nursery that closed after being branded “inadequate” by Ofsted.

An application to turn the former Oak Nursery School in Long Lane, Holbury, back into a house has been given the go-ahead.

The large detached property opposite Fawley refinery has been vacant for more than a year.

Ofsted was highly critical of the privately-run nursery, saying it failed to ensure children’s safety, kept inaccurate records and staged “mundane” activities.

Inspectors later confirmed that all the issues raised in the report had subsequently been addressed by nursery staff.

But the facility closed shortly afterwards and all attempts to sell it to another nursery provider have failed.

Now New Forest District Council has approved a planning application submitted by the owners, Umadat and Jaysee Lohur.

A report to councillors said: "Originally built as a chalet bungalow the property is presently vacant following the closure of the former private nursery last year.

"The proposal entails the conversion of the property back into a single residential dwelling with three bedrooms.

"In principle new residential development is acceptable within the built-up area, although consideration also has to be given to the loss of the nursery."

The report said alternative facilities had been found for the children who went there.

It added: "There are at least four similar premises within three miles of this site and on this basis it is not considered that the loss of this particular facility would adversely affect the overall provision in the area."

Mr and Mrs Lohur's application said the conversion would result in only minor alterations to the property.

It added: “We have tried to sell it on as a nursery but with the current market we have had hardly any interest."

The application also cited the housing shortage in the Forest, saying a large number of people were waiting for a home in the Holbury area.

The Ofsted report was published following an inspection carried out in February last year.

It said: “The owner has a poor understanding of her responsibility to safeguard children’s welfare effectively. She fails to identify when children are at risk of harm and does not support staff to report concerns promptly.

“Recruitment and induction procedures are poor.

“The owner fails to identify weaknesses in staff performance. Staff deployment is ineffective and places children’s safety and wellbeing at further risk.”

“Children do not make sufficient progress, activities are mundane and lack challenge.”


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