Plans to build five new nurseries in East Renfrewshire have been submitted by the council – worth £23m.
The facilities, three of which will operate as family centres providing childcare for 50 weeks of the year, are planned to be open by August 2020.
East Renfrewshire will be required to provide increased free childcare for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by 2020 and the new nurseries will play a significant part in delivering this.
Local authorities currently provide 600 free hours a year and this will increase to 1,140, which is in effect a rise to 30 hours per week, matching the time children spend each week in primary school.
The plans for the new nurseries propose creating a centre within Overlee Park, one to replace the outdated Crookfur Pavilion, a replacement for Glenwood Family Centre on an adjacent site, and two new centres within the grounds of Busby and Eaglesham primaries.
Councillor Paul O’Kane, Convener for Education and Equalities, said: “It is extremely exciting to have reached this milestone in our ambitious early years expansion plan. The sites of the proposed new family centres were carefully chosen as we aim to provide green and natural environments for our children so they have the best opportunities for quality exploration and learning experiences indoors and out.
“By offering parents various options of how to utilise their free childcare allocations, the facilities will provide more flexibility and choice which I’m sure will be welcomed by all.”
As part of the work to create new nursery facilities the council is also proposing to incorporate improved community and sports facilities within two of the centres.
The existing Crookfur and Overlee pavilions are both in need of significant improvements, and will benefit from being included in these new facilities.
At Crookfur, the plan is to replace the existing pavilion with a 120 place nursery and sports changing rooms. A hall space will also be included which will be available to the whole community. In addition, the public playground will be upgraded and there will be additional car parking created.
The family centre proposed for within Overlee Park would be created on an area of disused ground behind the current pavilion. It is planned to carry out two phases of work, first building a 120 place nursery and then creating a sports changing facility in a separate section of the building, which will further enhance the facilities within the park. A community hall space will also be created as well as additional car parking.
Once this early years, sports and community hub has been built the council then propose to demolish the dilapidated old pavilion and landscape the area to enhance the park further.
Part of the old pavilion is currently closed up and home to hundreds of bats, so the council is also proposing to build a new bat house provision so that the creatures are not disturbed.
A 120 place nursery will be built within the grounds of Busby Primary to replace the temporary facility currently in place. As part of the development a new multi-use games area (MUGA) will be built, as well as new landscaped play areas for pupils.
The plan for Eaglesham Primary is to build a 120 place nursery within the grounds of the school with a corridor linking it to the main building. This would replace the existing 60 place nursery class within the school and improved parking and drop-off facilities would also be created.
A single-storey replacement facility is proposed for Glenwood Family Centre to provide a larger and more modern learning environment. The building has been designed to take advantage of the fantastic outdoor learning opportunities within Eastwood Park, with consideration given to the final car park design to ensure mature trees are maintained.
Other existing nurseries will also be developed as part of the expansion plan, with a further £3.3m being invested to create a new 60 place nursery class extension at Cross Arthurlie Primary, plus improved facilities at Hazeldene Family centre, Carolside Nursery Class and Braidbar Nursery Class.
Some families are already accessing increased free childcare places, with provision available within Arthurlie Family Centre, Isobel Mair Family Centre, Braidbar Nursery Class and Busby Nursery Class.
Until the Council’s expansion plan is fully implemented, access to these places is limited and so criteria are in place to identify children who are eligible to benefit.