Image Courtesy under 1 Roof nursery
A Woolwich nursery is fighting to stay open due to the possibility of being evicted by Christmas.
It threatens 74 children’s nursery places, upheaval for many families and would see staff lose their jobs.
Childcare places are incredibly limited as it is both locally and across the London and beyond. Though not in this area, I’ve had first hand experience recently of this struggle and had to wait three whole years for sufficient days for my child.
This nursery also serves the local community and last month they “took our children on a trip to the Greenwich Food Bank, to deliver all the generous food donations that we’ve received from our kind parents. They had a great day out, experiencing public transport and lots of real life learning about food, jobs and helping their community.”
I’ve been following this issue of nursery provision in Woolwich for some time as many homes were built.
Firstly, a major development such as the Royal Arsenal needed and needs sufficient space for a nursery. There wasn’t. Thus a nursery was located in a warehouse unit beside a BMW dealer and and car storage site. Then that expanded and they were forced into another warehouse unit on the I O Centre, where now they could be evicted again.
A lack of a permanent site on the Royal Arsenal development is extremely disruptive to families, staff and children and we see warehouses used for various uses that aren’t often industrial, in a spot extremely close to the Elizabeth line station.
A nursery in a warehouse is better than no nursery but it should never have even got to this stage. They have done an excellent job with the space and spent a fair bit of money.
Long-term there needs to be another look at how some of this “industrial” land extremely close to Woolwich station is designated. It’s supposed to be industrial but many uses simply aren’t – and havn’t been for many many years since construction.
When we have long term vacant land suitable ideal for industrial use a short distance east in Thamesmead while land near Woolwich station on the Elizabeth line could be developed into mixed-use new housing including specific sites ideal for nurseries and local amenities. Other homes could be built above sites suitable for light industry.
In the short term hopefully the nursery can hang on and be given sufficient time for an alternative long-term home. If not many people will be hit hard.