Angry neighbours protest against new Wolverhampton nursery
Furious neighbours are up in arms amid claims that a nursery school was built near their homes without the correct planning permission.
Sandhills Day Nursery was built on Springhill Lane in Lower Penn, Wolverhampton, and hosted an open day for interested parents on Saturday.
But security guards were stationed at the top of the drive, preventing anyone else from viewing the new facility – after protesters starting gathering to campaign against the build.
Neighbours have listed their main concerns as the size of the building and the amount of traffic the new nursery would bring to a ‘peaceful, rural area’.
Father-of-two Gareth Brazenell, who lives in nearby Wynne Crescent, also claimed the building did not have correct planning permission.
Mr Brazenell, aged 52, said: “It used to be a small barn and planning permission was applied for to change it into a nursery within the same building. But we have worked out that this new building is 75 per cent larger than the barn.
“They also originally applied for planning permission for 110 pupils but the website says it will take more than 200. And it’s just a blot on the landscape. This is green belt land, it should be protected.”
South Staffordshire Council originally refused the application in 2017 but the developers appealed. Mr Brazenell said work then began on the building site.
The council has confirmed it has received a partially retrospective planning application for the nursery, but a decision has not yet been made.
The protest drew a crowd of more than 50 people, with many bearing signs that read ‘no planning permission for the size of the current building’.
Mother-of-two Kiran Lali, aged 36, said she moved to the area for the peace and quiet, but now felt the nursery would bring too much traffic for that to continue.
She has a four-year-old and an eight-year-old, but said a nursery of this size was not needed in the area. “You can just imagine the rush of traffic, it will be constant,” she said.
“We moved here three years ago and saw it as our forever home, but now we feel there is a question mark on our future. It feels like we are being pushed out.”
A spokesman for South Staffordshire Council said: “We have received a planning application for the proposed nursery at Springhill Lane, Lower Penn – this is a partially retrospective application.
"We are currently receiving comments from local residents and other bodies. The matter will be considered by the council’s planning committee.
"When the committee considers the matters it will do so in line with the law and local and national planning policy taking into account any material planning considerations and disregarding anything that is not a material planning consideration.”
Carl Higgs, architectural agent acting on behalf of Sandhills Day Nursery said the owner did not wish to make a statement at this time.
However, he said: “A partial retrospective planning application has been submitted to South Staffordshire Council’s planning department.
"I understand that these matters will be considered by the council’s planning committee in due course, I assume that the council will assess this application in accordance with both local and nation planning law.
"I expect that the council will disregard anything that is not a material planning consideration.”