Plan submitted to build outdoor preschool on edge of Weston

The proposed site. Picture: Google

The proposed site. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

An outdoor preschool could be built on the outskirts of Weston.

Rachel Landen has applied to build a woodland preschool on land accessed from Wentwood Drive, near the Oldmixon estate.

The applicant has applied for a change of use of land from agricultural to accommodate a woodland preschool and to build a storage building with sedum roof, compost toilets, car parking and access.

The application is a resubmission of a plan which was refused last August and its subsequent appeal was dismissed in April.

Issues over whether the site is appropriate given its location and levels of accessibility, the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area, and on highway and pedestrian safety were cited by inspectors as the main reasons for dismissing the appeal.

Mrs Landen said: “We believe every child should be given the opportunity to explore and learn outdoors; outdoor nature-based learning that focuses on the holistic development of the child.

“We want to open a woodland preschool and holiday club on the outskirts of Weston, which will offer children a unique learning experience, connecting with nature, getting lots of fresh air and the exercise they need.”

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The preschool will offer spaces for a maximum of 24 children and will be open 50 weeks of the year, Monday to Friday 8am-6pm to children aged three to 11-years-old.

During term time, it will offer four spaces to two-year-olds who are eligible for Government funding. This funding could be due to the benefits parents receive, or if the child is looked after, in care or has special educational needs.

The other 20 spaces will be for children aged three and four who are eligible for 15 and 30-hour funding, or parents that work part-time or full-time.

The preschool will also offer placements for Weston College students who are studying early years.

The college is looking to offer forest school training and has written a letter to the applicant stating its interset in working together, should the application be approved.

The applicant said the preschool ‘will help to tackle obesity, children will learn how to care for their environment and gain a great knowledge and understanding of our eco-system and wildlife’.

Weston Town Council said it does not object to the principal of the application for a woodland pre-schoo but objected to the proposed access to the site, which is ‘considered a highway and pedestrian safety issue due to other new developments currently being built adjacent to the proposed land off Wentwood Drive’.