PLANS are moving forward to create a new nursery building in Poulner near Ringwood.

The proposal for the building at Poulner Infant School, which has been put forward by Hampshire County Council, is to accommodate the existing school-run nursery.

In addition to this there are plans to remodel some of the existing spaces to provide additional teaching space for the infant school.

Spending approved

Last week, the county council’s executive lead member for Children’s Services, Cllr Roz Chadd, approved grants spend for the project, which will cost a total of £537,000. The public, decision day meeting on November 10 heard it was a “much-needed” project and would also release space for the school to use.

A council report states: “The proposals seek to address shortcomings in the existing accommodation and provide additional and improved teaching space for the school as well as bespoke new accommodation for the existing nursery provision.”

A planning application was submitted in September with a decision expected next month.

What is being proposed

The new purpose-built nursery will replace the current 26-place nursery on the school site and will be a standalone building.

It will include a new outdoor play space, pupil changing area, and kitchen.

The vehicular entrance to the school will remain unchanged but it is proposed that a new opening be formed in the school’s eastern boundary to provide a secure and dedicated pedestrian entrance to the nursery setting.

The project is included in the Children Services Capital Programme, approved in January 2020 with a budget of £487,000. The cost has since increased “due to the increased scope of the proposed works” resulting in funding being increased.This, the council says, will be funded by an increase in the funding.

The aim is to start construction work in the spring of 2022with the new building hoped to be completed in autumn 2022.

Support for project

The proposal for the Poulner Infant School nursery has also been backed by Ringwood’s county councillor Michael Thierry who said it was “very welcome news”, adding: “It shows the investment that the county council is prepared to put into local education.”

Poulner Infant School headteacher, Jo Conner, said: “We are so excited to have the opportunity to have a purpose built pre-school building and be involved in the design stage. It is such a luxury to be able to shape the building around our vision for an outstanding pre-school provision.

“It is so important for us and the community to be able to maintain an outstanding early years provision in the local area. The stand alone building on the school site will extend opportunities for the whole community including wrap around care for families.

"We are so fortunate as a school site to have lots of outside space, the building will sit sympathetically to the main school building in the grounds and the children will also benefit from a landscaped outside space too.”



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