Plans to move Birdham Nursery School on to primary school site

Fresh plans have been put forward to move a nursery school in Birdham on to the same site as a primary school just down the road.

Initial plans to move Birdham Nursery School at Crooked Lane were withdrawn last year after objections from the county council’s highways department and from residents who said it would add to traffic congestion outside Birdham Primary School.

But after coming up with a new travel plan, an updated application was submitted to Chichester District Council.

Headteacher of the primary school Peter Johnson said: “It has been a long term aspiration of school governors to provide a seamless education.

“This would enable children to share resources and the new building would have a lot to offer. We are all keeping our fingers crossed.”

The nursery has been working with the primary school and the community to agree an ‘active’ travel plan that has been since implemented by the primary school. This will be adopted if the plans get planning permission.

The travel plan includes a number of proposals that have showed to alleviate some of the existing traffic problems at the beginning and end of the school day.

A Walk Once a Week (WOW) initiative has encouraged children and parents to ‘Park and Stride’ or walk to school at least once a week. A walking bus from the village hall has been established on a Monday and Tuesday morning and has become very popular.

There are plans to extend the days this is being offered and introduce a similar bus starting from Birdham Church. All parents of the school are being asked to sign up to a travel charter which commits them to walking.

Mr Johnson added: “As a school we are conscious of making a minimal impact on the local community. A lot of parents from the nursery have children at the primary school already.”

Birdham Nursery is a charity and is run by volunteer parents. It currently operates from the village hall at Crooked Lane.

Committee treasurer of the nursery Sally Lillywhite said: “We can only go so far with our good Ofsted grading because we are restricted in the work we can present on the walls of children’s work, which is fair enough.

“We really need to branch out where there will be better facilities. We have been trying to raise money for this for the last ten to 15 years.”

The nursery, which currently operates from the village hall, is holding an open meeting for residents on Monday. To view the plans, quote the planning application reference number BI/12/02075/FUL.