Corfe Mullen pub to become nursery
A FEAR of competition for existing child-care businesses proved no reason for planners to refuse an application for a new nursery to operate in a former public house in Corfe Mullen.
The application for the change of use of The Mount Inn in Blandford Road was approved unanimously by East Dorset District Council's planning committee on Tuesday after members agreed it was a welcome development for the pub, which has stood vacant and on the market for many years and was described by one resident as "a blight on the neighbourhood".
But Corfe Mullen Parish Council commented on behalf of a number of child care facilities in the village, saying there was concern of over provision of nursery places which could result in closures.
And Cathy Rimmer, a director of the Bright Sparks nursery in the village, spoke for a number of other facilities in the village saying: "We are all struggling, and there is a high possibility that it could put us out of business. Unnecessary competition isn't good for any village."
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She said if Bright Sparks closed, the youth centre would lose the rent they paid which was one of the main reasons it stayed open.
"Villages are for small companies working together, not just one big one."
The application came from Cheryl Hadland, who runs the Tops Day Nursery operating out of the former Winston Churchill public house in Wimborne, who said they offered a different services in accepting children at any time of day, and catered particularly for parents who served the public such as nurses and police working unusual shift hours and for children under the age of one.
"Child minders are a different business from day nurseries," she said, adding that it was not their intention to drive other services out of business.
Councillor Mrs Ann Warman felt it was an ideal site for an ideal use, and competition was not something the planning authority could take into account.
Her proposed approval was seconded by Councillor Mrs Toni Coombs, who said the government was driving towards a market economy.
"Any potential disturbance has to be weighed against the site's previous use, and there are no grounds for refusal," she said.
Councillor Robin Cook said: "My experience over many years is that anyone who is any good will survive anyway, but Tops Day offer something a little bit different."