Monday, July 21, 2014

First steps going forward for a lasting solution to the Rosebank Church problem!

A solution to the problem of the derelict Rosebank Church has emerged, a solution that could not only save the building for the future but also allow an existing Nairn business to move forward to a secure future. The Gurn has received the following:

"1st Steps Childcare Nairn is delighted to announce an exciting new development which will secure the future of the existing 1st Steps nursery and restore the historic Rosebank Church to its former glory.
Present state of Rosebank Church - image Greg Riddle
Local people will be well aware of the recent furore over the state of the former Rosebank Church building which has lain empty for over 25 years and is currently considered “at risk” on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland.
The existing the 1st Steps Nursery, currently based in temporary buildings leased from Highland Council within the grounds of Rosebank Primary School, is facing the threat of closure when their lease is terminated in summer 2015 to make way for additional car parking.

The Directors of 1st Steps Childcare Nairn Limited have been working individually with various parties since 2009 and collectively since October 2013 to identify and secure suitable child care premises. Most recently, they have been working with the owner of the former Rosebank Church, Sheridan Macrae, on plans to re-develop the building into a high quality child care facility which we will lease on a long-term basis. Heads of terms have been agreed, and they anticipate that a planning application, being prepared by Craig Mackay of CM Design, will be submitted in late July / early August.

Roslin Murdoch, Director of the Company and owner of the existing nursery, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Sheridan Macrae to bring this historic building back to into use, whilst providing an excellent facility which will benefit children, parents and have a positive impact on the town. All parties are committed and working hard to achieve our opening date in Summer 2015.”

The exterior of the building will be sympathetically restored with the only significant visible changes involving creation of additional windows and an external door on the East elevation which is largely hidden from view (adjacent to Leopold Street).

The interior ground floor will be extensively re-modelled to create a suitable internal space for a state-of the art day nursery and out-of-school child care facility. At first floor level the building will be refurbished and retained for future expansion.

The grounds will be landscaped as secure outdoor play area complete with a disabled parking space.

It is anticipated that the impact on existing traffic and parking will be negligible, within the context of a town centre location, and the traffic impact of the existing nursery location and adjacent Rosebank Primary School.

They aspire to create a high quality childcare facility incorporating a day nursery and breakfast/after school child care for school age children. Building on the high standards of care being achieved by the excellent staff within the existing 1st Steps nursery, the new nursery will cater for children from babies to 5 year olds, observing best practice and full compliance with national care standards, tied in to the national curriculum for pre-school education. School age children will benefit from a separate space dedicated to their needs and supporting parental child care requirements out with the school day and during holidays. The capacity of the new child care facility compared with the existing nursery will increase by approximately 35%.

There is a demand for high quality child care in Nairn which is both affordable and flexible, which is set to increase due to Scottish Government policies on the provision of free pre-school education, both in terms of increasing the hours per week, and extending the current scheme to include 2 year olds.

1st Steps will provide an attractive child care option which does not currently exist in the town, although common in Inverness and its environs. This will attract economically active young families to settle in the town, as well as supporting existing families to remain here. The new child care facility will be located in the heart of the community, adjacent to the largest primary school, which will reduce car dependency and promote walking and cycling.

As the existing 1st Steps nursery is losing its current premises it is essential to open the new premises for business in Summer 2015 and there is a tight programme with respect to obtaining planning permission and building warrant, and completing the substantial construction works. Highland Council’s planning officers seem to be broadly supportive of the proposals from informal feedback to date."


Anonymous said...

The site is not a good choice for a pre school nursery.

The dropping off will be very limited and the A96 is already busy with school children plus of course all the additional lights stopping through traffic more frequently

There is a clear need for a new site but in my view this is not the one!

Surprised if there is grant funding going into this venture that the above has not been seriously considered.

Personally I would be happier to see a safer location being selected. They are there in the centre of town and available

Anonymous said...

Yes but plenty of other parking in the town centre and some parents might even walk there?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry there's a bypass coming!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5.39 what difference will a pre school nursery make when you already have hundreds of children next door at Rosebank. Parents already use Albert street, the bus stop and viewfield for dropping the kids off, so I don't think it will make much difference. Ms Murdoch should be applauded for this ambitious proposition and I for one support it

Anonymous said...

Must admit the first thing that came to my mind was the thought of the A96 versus children. Hmmmmm

Nairn resident said...

Good luck to this project

Anonymous said...

Having noted that those involved have been seeking suitable premises since 2009 you have to assume the town does not offer too many alternatives. Maybe Anons at 5.39pm and 9.34pm, having taken into account all the guidelines/requirements for such facilities, can suggest answers. Nairn is desperately short of childcare places, the Rosebank Church building is a very prominent eyesore. That this project has the potential to deal with both is worthy of support. Well done Rosalin, Sarah and Greg